Why foster? A letter from a care experienced young person

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By Daniel, a young refugee supported by the British Red Cross in Kent.

Let me share with you my experience.

My name is Daniel and I am from Eritrea. I fled Eritrea in 2014 at the age of 14 and arrived in the UK in May 2015. The journey from my motherland to the UK was a very long, dangerous and brutal one, which completely changed me in so many ways. I became fearful of people, finding it impossible to trust anyone.

When I finally arrived at the port of Dover, I was considered under 18 and was therefore sent to a foster family by social services, rather than to a holding house or shared housing. I found it hard to trust my social worker or my foster carers at the beginning and I couldn’t speak a word of English. But it didn’t take me long to understand that they really cared about me.

It started to feel like family with them and they showed me love and kindness. They supported me to achieve my dreams and to become who I wanted to be. I started to see this as a new chapter in my life and I found that I had an opportunity to educate myself, which was a thrilling prospect! I was so excited and I started to feel comfortable and safe at home. 

My foster parents helped with everything I needed and I worked really hard too, to make them proud. We have a very good connection. Whenever I feel low or need advice, or just want to chat about something, I can talk to them. We had a great time as a family and dinner times were special, allowing us to have good conversations after the meal. I enjoyed it when we watched films together or played games sometimes. 

Four years on I have made a new start from nothing to something. I quickly learnt the language and worked hard at school and then at college and I am now studying at university, where I am almost at the end of my first year studying mechanical engineering. I am so proud of myself and I know my whole family is proud too. I am the first one to go to university in my family, and I know that I wouldn’t be here without the support my foster family provided.

I worked really hard to learn the language. While I studied at college I was also working part time so I could also help my family back home, who are left in a country where they have little hope for a future of freedom or success.

There are so many children that can’t live with their family anymore. Would you be able to give an opportunity to those young people? To help them to be successful, to thrive and to be proud of their achievements? As a foster parent you can change their life.

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The British Red Cross crisis casework team started working with Daniel in 2019. Since then, he has been raising his voice to support new arrivals and advocating for change.

With this letter he wants to raise awareness of the situation of young asylum seekers and refugees and the importance of foster care. To find out more about the work of the British Red Cross, please click here.