On Tuesday 5th November, Barnardo's hosted its annualDiwali celebrations at the Victorian Bath House, London, to raise vital funds for the charity. The Diwali dinner at the event was organised by Masterchef 2018 semi-finalist and Barnardo’s supporter Nisha Parmar.
The event began with a prayer, spectacular fire show and Bollywood dance performances, and guests were also invited to light a diya for all the vulnerable children across the world. A number of the charity’s celebrity Ambassadors and supporters attended the event, including TV presenters Sonali Shah and Anila Chowdhry, alongside actors Nina Wadia and Ameet Chana.
One of the young people supported by Barnardo’s is 19-year-old Neha, a young carer from Leicester, who looks after her parents and her two younger siblings. She is currently studying for a degree in Biomedical Sciences. She said,
“Trying to juggle everything on a normal day is difficult. On special occasions like Diwali, it’s even harder as we have loads of guests who visit us and I have to cook a lot of food for everyone and serve them all tea, coffee and snacks.
“I do feel blessed that I am able to help my family and spend time with them, but it can get overwhelming and sometimes I wish could enjoy Diwali like everyone else instead of worrying about how I will cope.”
Since joining Barnardo’s Carefree service in Leicestershire, Neha’s support worker has helped her in various ways including liaising with her college, applying for grants and offering her a safe space to talk about her concerns. Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan said,
“For children supported by Barnardo’s, celebrations like Diwali can be a difficult time. Children with mental health problems, those caring for a family relative and children in care are facing huge challenges all year round and some may also feel cut off from their culture and background.It’s vital that agencies, charities and local communities come together to support young people to achieve a positive future.”