Kamal's story

It took Kamal seven months to reach Calais after he had to leave his home in Sudan at just fourteen years old. After finally arriving in England, Kamal went to live with Laura and her family.

It took Kamal seven months to reach Calais after he had to leave his home in Sudan. Crossing through Libya, and managing to board a boat that thankfully made it to Italy, Kamal was just fourteen years old.

After finally arriving in England, Kamal was eventually placed with Laura, her husband and their birth children. Laura explains how they came to fostering.

“We saw the Home for Good film about the refugee crisis at our church and it really struck a chord – we signed up that very day for more information. I read the Home for Good book while we were going through the assessment process, which really helped us to approach fostering from a Christian perspective. It certainly increased my desire to be approved as a carer.

We were open to fostering any child or young person who needed a home, but we did make it clear that we would welcome a refugee. I have experience of supporting people through a language barrier and knew that was likely to be a significant challenge for any young person arriving in the country.

Kamal came to us a couple of weeks after our approval as foster carers, and is such a blessing to our family.

In the early days we really had to rely on a translation app from his native Arabic, which wasn’t always successful and certainly slowed down our conversations as we had to type things into our phones.

Sometimes the translations really didn’t make much sense and it was incredibly frustrating, but we seek to be patient with each other and do all we can to communicate – and usually we can laugh about it afterwards. It really helps that Kamal is passionate about learning English and is doing really well.

Our children have welcomed Kamal with open arms and love playing football and bouncing on the trampoline with him. They even argue over who gets to sit next to him at mealtimes! They are keen to tell all their friends about their foster brother and are excited to learn Arabic phrases. Listening to their chatter has no doubt helped Kamal with his English too, and he is certainly getting better at understanding most of what they say.

Given Kamal is Muslim, we’ve made sure he can practice his religion, and we respect each other’s beliefs. He’s a great cook and we’ve loved trying his food and learning about his culture – even our fussiest little eater has tasted and liked Kamal’s food! As a family, we have broadened our horizons and it has been a really enriching experience for our littlies to understand and know a bit more about the world we live in.

Our church has been great and very supportive and understanding. We have pockets of groups and individuals within the church who are praying for us and supporting us. Our back up carers are from church, as are some friends to whom I have made those frantic calls just before school pick up, asking if they can collect my children because I am stuck in a meeting or Kamal’s GP appointment is running late.

We have no regrets whatsoever in taking the decision to make that initial phone call and fill in the fostering application form. Yes, things can get incredibly busy but every day is different and the positives far outweigh any negatives.

As and when our current placement ends (and we are in no rush for it to come to an end at this time), we would happily welcome another refugee into our home. Whilst Kamal endured some harrowing experiences in order to get to the UK, he has so much to offer from his home background and is so keen to learn and understand about the country and our family.

Fostering a young refugee is both an honour and a blessing and we are certainly enjoying the journey so far.”

As Kamal continues to thrive in his new home, his application for asylum is ongoing and the outcome will hugely affect his future. He dreams of going to university and becoming an engineer, but at this stage of his life he is unable to plan beyond the next couple of years.

If you have been inspired by Kamal or Laura's story, please consider giving a gift to Home for Good to enable us to do more to find loving homes for vulnerable children and young people.

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