Long-term health conditions, also known as chronic illnesses, represent more than half of the world’s ‘burden of disease’. This includes headline grabbing illnesses that get attention and research funding, like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and HIV, but also less well known and often misunderstood illnesses, like fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalitis (ME), lupus, depression, and more. The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has seen long COVID added to this list, with millions of people affected since 2020, and experiencing its debilitating effects every day.
Living with chronic illness can be very isolating. The pain, fatigue and the other symptoms we experience can stop us from living the life we want to. On top of that, we often face lack of understanding or even disbelief from our families, friends, employers, and healthcare providers. Our lives can become very narrow, and we can end up feeling very much alone, useless, and unsatisfied with life which in turn increases our stress and thus our symptoms.
Our own experiences of living with a variety of chronic illnesses has been that most support groups focus on symptoms and how to relieve them, or on general well-being activities; but we want support around how to get stuff done, create a joyful life, and make a contribution to family, community, and society, while living with chronic illnesses.
We Make The Path was begun to address that need.
We provide opportunities for chronically ill people to take the action they want to take, in a way that is sustainable for them, building confidence, skills, capacity and community along the way.
As well as individual benefits to mental, emotional, physical and social health and well-being, our goal is to see a ripple effect of improvement in the health and well-being of our participants' families, communities, and society at large.
Who we work with
Our core work is open to anyone with a chronic illness, whether its causes, symptoms or effects are physical, mental or emotional. We have a special focus on those who are unemployed, underemployed, or self-employed, and make our work open to people with low incomes at little or no cost.
Themed projects remain focused on the experiences, wants, needs, and wisdom of chronically ill people, but are open to everyone.
We seek always to operate in a way which is holistic, liberatory, and person-centred, encouraging people, individually and collectively, to generate practices for themselves which are nourishing and replenishing, and which enable them to be flexible and responsive in changing circumstances, which are often outside of their control.
We work according to the following principles:
Solidarity is fundamental. Until all of us are free, none of us is free.
All factors affect all other factors, all the time. Social, economic, environmental, political and personal are always interconnected.
Practice and theory are in constant relationship. Action generates reflection; reflection generates action.
The way we do things is as important as what we do. We can create the world we want in small ways now.
Each one of us matters, and we all deserve to be well resourced. Inner practice and inner healing play a core role in making working for change, at any level, sustainable beyond short-term actions.
Each of us can have a role in creating a better world. It doesn't matter what our skills and capacities are, or whether the work of change is at the most personal level or the most global. The basic requirement is willingness.
Relationships are key. Skilful relating is vital to creating lasting change.
Want to find out more?
Whether you want to find out about becoming a client, how we can support your organisation and its people, or how you can support our work, email us to let us know.