Mohammad and his wife are foster carers in the North East and started fostering with Team Fostering seven years ago. They have particular experience with fostering unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
Mohammad took the long and winding road towards fostering, as many foster carers do. Originally born in Afghanistan, he underwent higher education in England before embarking on a career that took him through being a cultural advisor for the Ministry of Defence, teaching Maths and English in schools, before travelling across the UK as a translator.
It was on one such translation job, working with a young person in Whitley Bay, that a social worker suggested fostering to Mohammad.
After discussing it with his wife, they agreed to take a look. When searching for information about local fostering organisations, they came upon Team Fostering. “The not-for-profit side really appealed to us,” Mohammad explained. And while the assessment process was relatively straightforward and they were easily approved as foster carers, they were still initially a little unsure about what was ahead. After being assured of the support available for them by their Supervising Social Worker, they agreed to meet with a young person, initially for just a cup of tea.
“Two boys came to our house to meet us. They looked so sad and so vulnerable that we felt we had to help and we welcomed them into our home. And although it was supposed to be a short placement, it’s now 6 years later, they’re adults and they’re not ready to leave!”
“It was challenging at first, the boys didn’t always behave and it was hard to connect with them – but my wife and I have worked hard with each of them, and taught them honesty and politeness. We brought these boys up the same way as we brought up our own children, and we’ve had no major trouble with them – they don’t drink, they don’t do drugs. They got an education, and we helped them find their first jobs. We want them to live independent lives. They’ve had birthday parties with friends coming from all the surrounding towns, so many that we hired a restaurant and my wife prepared lots of food for everyone who came.”
Mohammad and his wife now have four young people living with them, who were all unaccompanied children from abroad. He suggests that “if you are able to help, then why not help?” He advises that it’s “helpful to know more about the children’s cultural backgrounds – read and learn as much as you can and be open to a changed way of life to help them fit in.” That additional information can help avoid matches breaking down quickly over cultural or religious differences.
Team Fostering have also been there to support the family the whole time. “It’s a pleasure to be part of Team Fostering. The staff are friendly, professional, and helpful and whenever you need their help they’re there. I try to tell everyone I meet about them!”
Children who have come to the United Kingdom fleeing conflict and devastation in their home countries desperately need your help. You could help them build a new life with a positive future free from harm by becoming a foster carer for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children. Complete the form on the right of the page to arrange a callback from our friendly recruitment team.