LONDON –As the winner of the Fostering Network’s President’s Award 2018, Afia Choudhury stands out as a role model to Muslims who wish to volunteer as foster parents.
For 13 years, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets resident has looked after and provided shelter to almost 30 children.
Her efforts have been recognized at the recent Fostering Excellence Awards ceremony in London. She was among 21 selected people who were celebrated at the ceremony for their outstanding contributions.
“I came into fostering to make a difference to children, but actually they’ve made a difference to my life,” Afia said.
“I would love for others who are perhaps thinking about becoming foster carers to please come forward. Fostering has been a life-transforming experience, which I would not change for anything.”
In the UK alone, over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families each day. An estimated 8,100 new foster families are needed across the UK during 2018 to provide stable, secure and loving homes for fostered children.
Afia, along with her husband Kamruz and their four sons, is currently caring for a group of three children who have lived with them for the last seven years.
Over many years, Afia has welcomed babies to teenagers into her home. And she is determined to continue her services for children.
“My passion for fostering comes from the wonderful children that I’ve looked after over the years. They need to be looked after, they need to be loved and if you can work with them and watch them grow it’s such a wonderful feeling,” she concluded.
In Islam, Muslim parents are urged to treat children with respect and to nurture, love and educate them.
Islam gives children many rights and is concerned with their spiritual, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Muslims are ordered to offer children physical needs, such as food, drink, and sleep as well as taking care of their children’s emotional and spiritual needs.
Islam also endorses fostering orphan kids, allowing Muslims to a boy or a girl and takes care of him or her as a real father or mother would do to their child while keeping in mind that the child should be named after his/her biological parents.
Yet, Islam makes it impermissible to adopt a child and name him after his adoptive parents, while denying his real parents.