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Meri Yaadain CiC

Introduction to the work of the Community Interest Company (CiC) Meri Yaadain (My Memories)
I am Mohammed Akhlaq Rauf, Founder-Director of an organisation called Meri Yaadain. Meri Yaadain CIC is a community interest company.
Its purpose really is threefold. One is to raise awareness around dementia and that particularly because across the kind of ethnically diverse communities, particularly so for the South Asian communities, there’s no word for dementia. So people, people can relate to the topic, the subject to dementia. So awareness is one issue. The second aspect is to provide advocacy and support to people who are either living with dementia so people are affected by dementia. So, They are either living with dementia or the carer of somebody with dementia. On the third aspect, which is kind of quite enjoyable and that’s giving a bit of aggro really to services and commissioners and decision makers.
And that aggro is about how do we tackle unconscious bias, how do we provide help and support and training to organisations to just think that, you know, how do they make their services culturally appropriate? What small steps can they take to be open? So rather than having that unconscious bias of our doors are open and they can come and get services. So if people don’t know dementia, they haven’t got the support, how are they going to access your services? So there’s three parts to that. Why Meri Yaadain?
So Meri Yaadain, meaning ‘my memories’, was set up… it’s actually Urdu terminology for my memories but we realised that phonetically across South Asia, pronounced slightly different but people recognise that we’re talking about memories. And my personal experience was telling me that there is some, some acknowledgment in communities where they recognise that as you get older, you may behave in a certain way. So it might be that you’re talking nonsense, gibberish. You’re starting to get up and walk off. You’re talking about old things. And what we were trying to then think about was how do we connect dementia to understood or recognised behaviours, even before we start talking about dementia per se?
And then the other aspect of Meri Yaadain is that work that carers do, so things like not having an awareness of dementia, many families struggle with the care of dementia. They won’t recognise themselves as being a carer. They don’t recognise dementia, so they may go to the GP when they’re actually at crisis point. So the carer can no longer cope with the behaviours that they are trying to manage so they’re asking for help from the GP. It might be that power dynamics in the family are such that I mean I use this from an example of, who’s the next of kin in the family?
the person that does the hands-on care, or the person that’s the mouthpiece for the family, the person that might be managing the medicine. So when somebody says I need a name for next of kin, Actually carers are telling us, because I’m also a Ph.D. student writing up my thesis around dementia care, how South Asian family carers manage complex dementia care. And that tells us that people present late, often managing complex health needs, often very little awareness of dementia. So the role of Meri Yaadain as a community interest company is to both work with organisations, but essentially to support individuals.
Asma: So in terms of your resources or your activities, is there something that you’d really like to highlight to people who haven’t heard of Meri Yaadain before? Is there some kind of signposting to a particular resource that you’d like to include in the course? So my own background, as well as working around tackling inequalities, I mean for the best part of 25 years, nearly 30 years actually working around inequalities is that I don’t just accept the standardised takes of our doors are open, materials available in languages, you know, people know where we are. So I worked in communications for a while. So I see the fact that if we talk about languages, somebody might speak one language.
So for example, a Pakistani Punjabi speaker won’t have written Punjabi language, so English might be a second language, but actually I recognise it’s a third language because they may say, give me the information in Urdu, somebody might be at home. So what Meri Yaadain have developed is we have a website, where we have some resources in English so that we like the idea of families being able to pick up information as a family unit. You might pick it for friends, you know, you might become a talking point.
But then we also try to break some of that into things like what about dementia in, as we still call it, dementia in our ethnic communities, Dementia in BAME communities, you know, who’s a carer, dementia and finance, dementia and faith. So there’s some resources on there and we’re also doing some work, well actually we’ve got contracts at the moment with Scotland where we’re developing some resources that will be on another organisation’s website, some webinars. So people can actually have a listen to those and maybe just see some of the conversations that we’re having.

In this step, Mohammed Akhlak Rauf MBE, describes the work of the Community Interest Company (CiC) Meri Yaadain (My Memories), of which he is Founder and Director.

Meri Yaadain is a charitable initiative that supports ethnic minority people who live with dementia and the people who care for them. Meri Yaadain also works to raise awareness of dementia in ethnic minority communities, and of ethnic minority experiences of dementia among statutory and charitable community organisations.

Meri Yaadain is an example of grassroots voluntary and community organisations that provide mental health support for ethnic minority communities. While Meri Yaadain supports all South Asian communities, a significant part of their work is with Muslim communities.

You can find a link to the Meri Yaadain CiC website below. The organisation that Akhlak mentions towards the end of the video is the charity Together in Dementia Everyday (tide), and there is a link to the tide website below.


Meri Yaadain CiC

You Tube video of Akhlak speaking at the 28th Alzheimer Europe Conference, 2018. ‘Working with and involving local minority ethnic groups’.

Together in Dementia Everyday (tide).

Dementia Dekh Bhaal Project, conducted by Together in Dementia Everyday (tide).

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