Growing up always comes with its struggles, but Darwin local Uxel Mason has been dealt a tougher experience than most. Since the age of 10, Uxel has been caring full-time for his brothers and his father, all of whom have varying needs.
Now 23, Uxel is committed to, and heavily involved with, activities that cater towards the care of his brothers. Both of Uxel’s brothers Omri and Igen have been diagnosed with autism, with their levels of need at completely different levels to each other. Uxel’s father had originally taken care of his sons but is now suffering from an injury that has left him with reduced ability in his right arm and leg. With his father’s injury, Uxel had to take on a role well beyond his years, forcing him to grow up quicker than others his age.
This is common for young carers who have to take on responsibilities for friends or family members that are facing disability, illness, injury, mental health, or who are frail aged, through to dependence on alcohol or drugs. Young carers help with many tasks like household chores, paying bills, personal care, giving medication and emotional support. Most care for a parent or a sibling, and more than a third care for two or more relatives.
As a young carer, Uxel cares for his brothers by supporting them with challenges they face, including helping them to understand social cues and other general tasks; getting them ready, and helping them in situations where they might feel socially awkward. He also takes on other responsibilities such as household chores, personal care and providing emotional support to his father.
Uxel is committed to his role as a young carer and has been involved with multiple programs and awards regarding his caring role. He was awarded the 2023 recipient of The NT Young Carer Award due to his commitment to his family and has been involved in activities catered primarily for his brothers’ development.
Alongside caring for his family, Uxel dreams of studying interstate. With his education currently put on hold while he continues to care, Uxel has been saving up to study a Bachelor of Science at a university in Sydney or Adelaide.
Despite having to mature at a rapid pace and maintain the household, Uxel wouldn’t change a thing. “I know everything is worth it when I see that they have a smile on their faces.”
With the cost of living continuing to be a hard-pressed issue for those around the country, carers like Uxel are some of the most vulnerable out there. Uxel received the Young Carer Bursary last year, which helped him to save up for his dream of pursuing science.
High inflation on groceries and bills, soaring rents, a housing crisis and low wages growth has proven that funding is vital to help to support these young people reach education goals, maintain a social life and pay bills while carrying out their important carer roles.
The Young Carer Bursary is a Commonwealth Government grant that helps young carers between the ages of 12 – 25 by supporting them with vital financial aid, so that they can continue their educational journey while carrying out their vital carer roles. There are 1,592 grants available this year, which will provide young carers with up to $3,768 to support with the costs of education in the 2024 academic year.
The Young Carers Network is a nationally coordinated resource to raise young carer awareness, provide information, and direct young carers to appropriate pathways for support. Carers Australia administers the Young Carers Bursary which has announced 1,592 grants nationwide, to provide young carers with up to $3,768 to assist them with the costs of education. Young carers are 12-25 years of age and provide substantial unpaid care to a family member or friend facing disability, illness, injury, mental health, and aged care, through to dependence on alcohol or drugs. To find out more visit youngcarersnetwork.com.au