Ali Lee case study

Jan 25 2024

Imagine fostering a child seeking refuge campaign poster

Hampshire County Council’s specialist refugee child service is looking for foster carers to join its team to provide care for refugee children. Ali looks after children seeking refuge as well as offering respite to other foster carers. She is also a Hive care support worker supporting 14+ families in her area. She told us:

“I mainly look after children as a respite carer, supporting other foster carers who may need a short break. However, during my time as a foster carer, I have looked after children seeking refuge. An Iranian child came to me on an emergency placement and ended up staying with us for 11 months.

After his father and brother were killed in conflict, he escaped with his little brother and travelled for two years to reach the being trafficked and seeking small jobs to pay for the next part of his journey.

When he arrived, we kept him safe, and away from any internet or phone access. We found channels on the television that spoke in his native language so he could watch information. Talking was a barrier and we used Google Translate to converse and found foods he liked to eat.

He was a very shy, nervous child as he didn’t know who to trust, but once he opened up, he would make us a meal and help with the chores. He fit very well into the family and that’s why we still like having him around now. I couldn’t imagine our family now without him.

For many children seeking refuge, food is a big thing culturally, if they are cooking for you, or offering to host you, food is a massive thank you. They see it brings the family together as food is shared and stories are told about their history. So when you sit at a table with these young people it’s such a significant impact for them.

The children want to sit and learn from you, they want to make a better life for themselves. The child who stayed with us often comes back and spends time within our family, offers support to us and involves themselves in the community.

In terms of schooling, there is lots of support available from schools around Hampshire, as well as tailored learning programmes and staggered school start times to help children with learning the language.

These children are really kind; anyone considering fostering a child seeking refuge will never regret it, and never forget their first child - that stays with you.