Fostering for the Future, Sajida Champions Unaccompanied Minors

9th January, 2023

Recently we caught up with Children’s Champion in the South East, Sajida and what a ray of sunshine she is. In her words as Children’s Champion her role is to be an advocate for looked after children here at Capstone Foster Care.

“I give them a voice when they cannot speak. It is my dream job.”

Sajida goes on to explain that she makes it clear to the children and young people that she is not a social worker, she is on their level and there for them first and foremost. Children in care can find it difficult to talk and Sajida takes great pride in helping them to express their thoughts and emotions, if not through speech she encourages them to write it down.

What is important is that the children’s voices are heard.

And while her role encompasses all of the looked after children in her area it didn’t take long for Sajida to identify a group who were not able to access the services that she provided. That of unaccompanied minors.

Sajida commented, “some of the stories of entering the country these kids have are heart breaking. They have been through so much. I knew I had to do something to bridge the gap.”

Supporting Unaccompanied Minors

As a first port of call Sajida went about setting up a drop-in session. The sessions started small, but still important as it enabled the young people to meet others with shared experiences. Sajida noticed that these children were hesitant to attend other events as they felt like they would be unable to converse. But her ability to speak Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu as well as English went a long way in breaking down barriers.

Sajida enlisted the help of older children who could speak in their languages to further break down barriers. She went on, “a lot of these young people can come across as frustrated, and the language barrier is a problem as they do not feel like they are being heard. Having the older kids as mentors has made all of the difference.”

Sajida’s efforts did not stop there. Some of the children had entered the UK in adverse circumstances, which had resulted mistrust in the authorities, so she arranged a talk with the police in order to start rebuilding trust.

“The support group grew in size, and we did a trip to the London Eye. It was brilliant and I loved being able to give them an experience they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Sajida continues to champion children of all races and backgrounds, determined to do everything that she can do to make a difference and build a better future for looked after children.

“Seeing a smile back on a child’s face makes it all worthwhile. Working at Capstone has given me a sense of purpose and I would encourage anyone who is able to consider fostering.”

 

If you would like to know more about how you can make a difference by fostering, please do call one of our friendly advisors for a chat on 0800 012 4004.

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