Compassionate Care: HPC Fellow Maria Colimão

Maria Colimão is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with St Christopher’s Hospice. At St Christopher’s Hospice, Maria worked closely with the Compassionate Neighbours program on outreach, home visits, and trainings for the community on compassionate care. In her blog, Maria reflects upon her time at St Christopher’s Hospice.

Compassionate Neighbours are a growing network of people who support each other to promote compassion in their communities. They provide social and emotional support to people around them living with or caring for someone with a life limiting illness or those experiencing loneliness or social isolation by visiting regularly, offering friendship, emotional support and a listening ear; helping people continue doing things they love; helping people stay connected to the community, family and friends.

To make this network spread, I’ve worked with three dimensions of the program: outreach, home and matching visits, and training.

1. Outreach

In the outreach dimension, I had the opportunity to engage with organizations in London’s Croydon community. On December 4, 2018, I engaged with a group of 45 Muslim women in Elmwood, a community within Croydon. I presented the Compassionate Neighbours project and offered them the opportunity to join our network.

On January 5, 2019 through a connection with Norbury Green Residents Association, we had the chance to link with the local Counselor Shafi Khan. We shared our Compassionate Neighbours program and ran the event alongside another St Christopher’s Hospice project called Creative Conversations.

After the event, the Norbury Green Residents Association advertised our project in their newsletter, and a national organization contacted us to know more about the project. They were willing to join. This moment taught me the power of collaboration.

2. Home and Matching Visits

The home and matching visits have been my main focus since January and it’s an amazing opportunity and privilege to meet and connect with amazing people.

Through this experience, I’ve learned that the world is so small. In February, I matched two ladies who already knew each other. Once, they both were caring for their husbands and attended a carer support group.  They only realized that connection when they saw each other after I matched them. Our aim is to connect local people, so it’s a big win when that goal is achieved!

3. Trainings

The trainings are an opportunity to know more interesting people and have an idea of how to match them. It’s an educational part of the project that I love especially as we talk about death and dying. For some people, this is the first time they start to build the awareness concerning these issues.

As my time at St Christopher’s Hospice as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow comes to a close, I am thankful for all of the connections I have been able to make for myself and the community around me.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

(Photos courtesy St Christopher’s Hospice)

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