My name is Mahyar, I am 18 years old and I came to the UK in April, 2015 from Iran with my mother and older sister. When I was 16, my mother passed away, and so my sister and I were taken into care by social services and soon we were placed with TACT foster carer Georgie. It was pretty scary for us at first, moving into Georgie’s house, we just didn’t know what to expect, but now I am pleased to say that everything is perfect.
At first, I didn’t have much confidence and I couldn’t speak English well because it’s my second language, my first language is Persian. But over time I grew more confident and settled in well with Georgie’s family. However, after nearly a year I started suffering with anxiety, partly because I didn’t have many friends and I was not enjoying my first year at college. With Georgie’s intervention I was able to change college courses from boring English and Maths to Creative Media.
When I was given a professional camera, I was able to experiment with my creativity and I made a time lapse video of Wolverhampton that has gone on to get more than 20,000 views on social media and was featured in the local paper. I am proud to say that the video led to me becoming the only student to be nominated for the best project of the year at the Wolverhampton University Art Festival.
For me, being in foster care has been a very positive experience. Georgie has been so helpful. She has supported me through the application process for permanent status in the UK and accompanied me through the Home Office interview. And thanks to her I have been able to pursue my favourite sport and hobby – cycling. When I’m riding my bike I feel great, it’s my therapy. I have joined a cycling club and am training to do competitive cycling.
Georgie’s mum’s partner offered me a job, six hours a week in the house, and this was my first official job and I loved it and it helped me to learn how to manage my money.
Now I’ve been with Georgie’s family more than two years, but it feels so much longer than that because I love them, and they love me too. I get on well with the whole of Georgie’s family and I consider her children Jemma, Josh and Mia to be like my own brother and sisters.
As well as the good things about being in care I want to tell you about the bad things. Something that really kills me is that foster children are immediately treated like they have a problem, that it is somehow their fault they are in care – a foster child can’t go to that place or this. Social workers are always looking for problems, and I haven’t had a great experience with social workers, but now I am in Staying Put (an arrangement where young people remain with their foster carers following their 18th birthday) with Georgie and I feel so lucky and hopefully I will go to university next year.