“They arrived tired, scared & hungry”

Author: TACT

Tags: Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

Charlotte & Terry – TACT foster carers since 2008
East Midlands

My husband Terry and I became foster carers with TACT in 2009, for the same reason as many other carers – we wanted to make a difference to children’s lives.  We really felt for children who couldn’t live with their families for various reasons, and we wanted to do something that would give them a caring home and help them feel safe, loved, wanted and worthwhile.

Among the children and young people we have fostered over the years, there have been five boys from Afghanistan, and watching the news about the current plight of Afghan people fleeing their country has brought back particular memories, and I can just imagine what it will be like for unaccompanied Afghan children arriving now in the UK.

Each of the Afghan boys who came to live with us arrived very tired, scared and hungry. They usually didn’t speak any English, so we used hand gestures to point to food etc. It could be rather challenging not being able to understand each other properly in the early days.  We introduced them to the local mosque and any other young people from Afghanistan that we knew. Initially we didn’t have a prayer mat, we bought a bathmat for a young person which was fine until we got a proper mat. We found most of the boys knew how to cook, so encouraged them to do so.

We really enjoyed the relationships we formed with them, they always treated us with respect and became part of the family. They were all really good with our birth child, who was younger than them.

As these boys were asylum seeking, a part of my fostering role was to attend their interviews with border control and solicitors, and I would get to hear about their background and the tough journeys they made to the UK. Life was extremely tough for them in Afghanistan and one of the boys saw his mother killed by the Taliban.

My husband and I found it very rewarding to help them develop from frightened, lonely boys into confident, English speaking young men.  We remain in contact with some of them and they will always be part of our family.

Anyone moved by the current situation regarding Afghanistan refugees and thinking about fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children should definitely contact TACT to find out more.  I thoroughly recommend it, and from my own experience, I know that TACT will provide you with all the training and support you will need.

You can read more about fostering Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) here.