foster wales issues urgent call for support for young refugees in Wales
Every year around 36 million young people are displaced globally because of conflict and violence.
More than 100 of these young refugees will come to Wales seeking shelter and support.
Many local authority foster carers are already providing vital support, but more are needed to address the ongoing crisis.
All 22 local authorities, as Foster Wales, are issuing an urgent call for people to come forward to help these young people in need.
“I feel like I was born here”
“When I came to Wales, I couldn’t speak English, I was seeing things I had never seen before in my life but now it’s different.
My social workers have been perfect; they have helped me get used to everything, the culture, the lifestyle. I feel like I was born here, I picked things up quickly.
I have a lot of friends here and I know a lot of people. I have been many places around the country, but Pembrokeshire is home.”
“When someone comes to Wales, can’t speak English, doesn’t understand the culture, they feel blind. They can’t do anything. I have been in that situation, and I always advise others to learn, to go to school. When I came to the UK I couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t write, but every night I was practising.”
– Young refugee, Pembrokeshire
“These are young people that need help and protection”
Newport is home to around one third of Wales’s unaccompanied refugees.
“It’s broadened my understanding of different cultures and made me realise how similar everybody is. We all want the same things.
I looked after one young man who got married last year, he was with me for three years. He still talks to me every week. He treats me like a father figure and there’s others as well that still live in the local area and I see them regularly.
These are young people that need help and protection, and I see that as very important. I know I’m making a difference.”
– Foster Carer, Newport
“A leap of faith”
The majority of young refugees arriving in Wales are teenage boys; many come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan.
Enabling them to continue religious practices and customs helps provide them with continuity, comfort, and wellbeing.
“The Quran says that we should help the needy. The girl I looked after said ‘I’ve only got Allah with me now, no family no friends. It helps if I can understand their faith and provide what they ask for, so they don’t have to explain.
“Go for the training provided, research their faith and lifestyle. It can help adapt your home according to their needs.
“When the young woman left my home, she left happy. She told me that when she grows up, she is going to foster too! That was so nice to hear. It meant that she understood and appreciated what we did for her. I feel very satisfied that I could help someone, even for a short period of time, I could help.”
– Foster Carer, Bangor
“Nation of Sanctuary”
In 2019, the Welsh Government declared that Wales would become the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
The country has a proud history of coming to the aid of those in need and in recent months, has shown great generosity in support of Ukrainian refugees.
As the refugee crisis intensifies, Foster Wales is encouraging the continuation of this generosity to ensure all young people seeking sanctuary in Wales are given the opportunity to thrive.
Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, said:
“It’s a journey you wouldn’t wish anyone to have to take, especially a young teen, alone. Many young refugees have to leave behind their loving family to escape war, violence, and oppression with the hope of a better life.
We know there’s great people in Wales who, with our support, could guide young people to start a new life here.
As well as supporting local children from Wales who need foster care, providing safety for any child or young person who needs our help, is what Foster Wales is all about.”
Contact your local authority for more information on how you could help a young refugee.