UK: Stories of foster carers for Muslim children

UK: Stories of foster carers for Muslim children

MUSLIM foster carer Rukhsana Raja from Coventry is a young woman with a big heart.

The 27-year-old, of Coundon, is one of only two Islamic foster carers in the city and two years ago took in four vulnerable youngsters.

She is a rarity in the fostering service, not just because of her religion but for her age. She is one of the youngest foster carers in Coventry and has had no children of her own.

Rukhsana is exactly the sort of person the service is seeking to attract, as the recruitment team judges applicants on their own merits and welcomes enquiries from young singles who have had no children.

Undeterred by misconceptions that she didn’t conform to the foster carer ideal, sheer determination led the accountant to fulfil her ambition to look after children.

She specialises in caring for youngsters from Muslim families who are still learning about the religion.

Rukhsana said: “I was always determined to do this and always thought I’d be good at looking after children.

“I’ve always believed that I could provide for them with stability and safety and it didn’t matter that I haven’t had my own children.

“I really enjoy it and know I’ll continue to foster children in the future, even when I eventually go on to have children of my own.

“I think it’s important that children know about their religion,” she added, “and are with people who can help them in their journey with Islam. That’s why I feel it’s my role to guide them while they live with me.

“Our religion says that by the age of seven a child should start reading the Koran and start fasting during Ramadan. That’s why my role is incredibly important.”

Islam has an impact on many areas of day-to-day life and, like all religious groups, Muslims vary in their level of practise. However, most adhere to basic rules.

These include dietary requirements for Halal meat and ingredients, which affect everyday foods such as bread.

There are also Islamic daily Salaah prayers, fasting and prayer in the month of Ramadan, after-school Islamic ethics and classical Arabic lessons. Following these rules comes as second nature to Muslims such as Rukhsana so they can share the knowledge and practise with foster children on a daily basis.

But because there are only two Muslim foster carers in Coventry, non-Muslim carers often take in Muslim children.

It means they are forced to adapt to a new way of living to accommodate the needs of the child, a situation long-term foster carer Betty McGlinchey knows very well.

She relies on the fostering service and the Muslim community in her area of Stoke for support.


Source: Coventary Telegraph

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