Foster carers needed to look after young refugees in Harborough - can you help?
The effort is getting off the ground across Leicestershire as a boy refugee placed with foster carers when he was just 12 achieved his dream of qualifying as an architect
A campaign is being launched to highlight the need for foster carers to look after young refugees in Harborough
The effort is getting off the ground across Leicestershire as a boy refugee placed with foster carers when he was just 12 achieved his dream of qualifying as an architect.
Now 25, Salman was taken in by a supportive local family after the brave youngster made a treacherous six-month journey to escape war-torn Afghanistan.
Inspirational Salman is now backing Place to Call Home, a partnership scheme between local authorities in the East Midlands, led by Leicestershire County Council.
They aim to recruit foster carers to support young refugees as they grow and adapt to their new lives.
Salman was rescued by police as he walked by a motorway in Leicestershire.
“It was hard at first.
“There were a lot of cultural differences,” he said.
“But they taught me English – the alphabet and sentences – and to try hard.”
Asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer for young refugees, Salman said: “Just be genuine and don’t give up.
“It takes a long time to build a trust, you need to get inside a child's mind.
“They're very scared, they have just left their families and meetings with social workers are very formal.
“You have to find trust, by talking and listening to them.
“Maybe treating them, giving them something to give you an opportunity to say something and find a similar page with the child,” said Salman.
“You have to show a lot of care and help them understand in a nice way about cultural differences here.
“I’m happy from all my interactions with social workers, my foster carers, even the police who picked me up.
“If I can inspire one person in all humanity to help.
“A lot of people helped me and I’ll keep knowing that I’m here because of you.”
Cllr Deborah Taylor, lead member for children and families for Leicestershire County Council on behalf of Place to Call Home, said: “Salman’s story is inspiring.
“He’s a young man who has dealt with many hardships but, with the support of a kind and loving family, has flourished and achieved a life ambition.
“We wish him well in his new career as an architect.
“We need more families who can support young people like Salman. “Families who can be understanding.
“Families who can help young refugees navigate this new world they find themselves in and support them as they grow,” added Cllr Taylor.
“I would encourage anyone who feels they may have the necessary skills or experience to foster to come along to our upcoming virtual information event to find out more about how they could change the lives and futures of young refugees.”
The information event will take place virtually on Wednesday June 16 during Refugee Week (June 14-20) to highlight the need for foster carers for young refugees.