“Thank you social services and government for your help and care. I never believed I would be loved. There is now a big rainbow in my life instead of darkness.”
Those are the words of a young victim of people trafficking who has written a heart-warming letter thanking his foster carer and social workers for giving him a safe, loving home.
Phong, then aged 16, was rushed to William Harvey Hospital in a life-threatening condition after he was found in a suitcase stowed in the back of a car in Dover last year.
Thanks to the efforts of hospital staff, the teenager soon recovered and was placed into foster care with Kent County Council, where he has since thrived.
The driver of the car was jailed for 18 months for smuggling.
Now Phong, who is originally from Vietnam, has decided to write a letter thanking everyone who has helped him since he arrived in the UK.
I’m writing a letter to tell you what a difference you have made to my life. You have saved my life. You have given me a family and a home.
When I came to the UK, when I woke up in the hospital I was very scared and panic. I don’t know where I am, what happen to me, I hurt all over my body and couldn’t eat. I could only use my neck and fingers just a little bit.
First thing I liked is the kind people in hospital. The nurses and doctors smiled at me and gave me biscuits, orange and water.
They looked after me very well. After 6 days stayed in the hospital Melissa the social worker came to see me and took me to a new home. I didn’t understand her until she showed me.
I had my own bedroom. It’s the first time I’ve had a bedroom. Now I have a mum, brother, sister, grandad, etc. At first I couldn’t speak English very well. We practiced every day. Then I was allowed to go to KRAN* to learn more English, that place I met Jo my new social worker.
After three months I stayed in UK I go to college to learn English and Maths.
I never thing I can pass exam but I have passed Entry 2 English and after 11 months stayed in UK. Thank you to everyone for helping me with English and myself. Now I believe in myself and I am positive instead of negative.
Thank you for finding me, making me better in hospital. Thank you for giving me a family, they love me and me too. Thank you for giving me an education. Thank you social services and government for your help and care. I never believed I would be loved. There is now a big rainbow in my life instead of darkness.
I am looking forward to doing entry 3 in college in September. I’m not sure I can pass but I will do my best. I hope I can make you proud.
My mum helped me with this letter. One more time thank you for changing my life.
Christine Burge from Ashford is Phong’s foster carer. She said: “Phong is an incredible young man who has grown so much since he arrived. He passed all of his exams, his confidence has grown and he has friends. He makes me very proud everyday.
“He really is the most caring and determined boy I have ever met.”
Kent County Council currently has a pool of more than 600 foster carers who go above and beyond every day to look after Kent children.
More foster carers are urgently needed in all areas for children of all ages, including parent and child carers, disabled children, siblings and teenagers.
Foster carers can look after children and teenagers long term or in short-break respite care for children with disabilities.
Kent is also developing a new “Hub Family Scheme” where one foster carer family is linked with 3-4 children living with foster carers in their local community, to be there as extra support to the child’s main placement. This is an entirely new type of fostering with an excellent rewards package.
To foster with KCC you need to:
- Have a spare bedroom
- Be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain
- To be able to give the time to care for a child or young person, often on a full-time basis
To speak to someone in Kent County Council’s communications office, call David Gazet on 03000 422589/ 07789 750619
*KRAN – Kent Refugee Action Network