Jane is one of our Shared Lives carers. She grew up in Kenya and described her childhood as modest, but having a huge sense of community. Jane and her husband moved to the UK in the mid-nineties, worked hard and held 2 or 3 different jobs each including caring and cleaning roles to bring them to where they are now, able to support others from their own home.
Evie had grown up in war-torn Africa and faced many extreme challenges before being re-united with family in London by the United Nations and subsequently placed in care when she was 14. Due to Evie having a learning disability, the foster placement was transferred to Shared Lives when Evie was 18 and she is now a part of Jane’s family.
Over the years, Jane has herself experienced racism, but has faced this by challenging assumptions and continuing to be proud of her many achievements as a black woman living in the UK and by helping others to do the same, including Evie, who has faced prejudice due to her learning disability and ethnicity.
Some other practical challenges have included finding suitable hairdressers and finding activities, education and worship that are culturally appropriate and inclusive for Evie.
Jane is keen to promote, educate and retain her African roots and has run workshops at Quex Park and taken Evie to Kenya. This trip had many huge benefits for Evie, such as visiting Jane’s family and getting involved in vibrant and welcoming community activities.
Kent Shared Lives would like to thank Jane for her amazing contribution and outstanding support for Evie and are keen to promote equality and diversity when recruiting new carers for the service, as we all can relate to being with people who share our own culture and beliefs.