Emdad Talukder and his wife Mahfuza Rahman have received the Freedom of London award as a recognition of their lifetime achievement promoting fostering within wider communities. They have been with us for 19 years and live near Ladbroke Grove.
For many people and cultures fostering is not something they tend to think of doing, so Emdad works with key people like Imams, priests and other religious and community leaders to make fostering more accessible.
While he mainly works in Tower Hamlets in his role as community resource officer, Emdad’s work stretches well beyond the borough as he’s found foster families all around London.
Emdad and Mahfuza have been fostering children themselves since 1999 and have looked after around nine children altogether. In 2003 they fostered a disabled child who had been born prematurely and had a number of physical issues including with his feet, a hole in his heart and his hearing. Emdad was pleased to say that the boy has overcome many of these issues, has graduated from City and Westminster College and is now working for Chelsea & Kensington Council.
Mahfuza also works in communities, mainly helping children get to know their Bangladeshi culture through both performing arts as well as through teaching. She’s put together multi-cultural festivals across the country for groups to come together, make authentic food and understand a bit more about their own culture.
Both Mahfuza and Emdad say their interest in helping communities stems from their backgrounds in Bangladesh and that both their families have always helped those around them.
Emdad explained: “Both of us – from when we were children – all we wanted to do was help the people. When we came to the UK, we wanted to keep doing it.”
Emdad also runs a centre for pensioners on Saturdays in the Isle of dogs to help combat loneliness in the older Muslim community. Mahfuza said that the amount of respect and love Emdad receives as a result of this work is wonderful to see.
Emdad already received an MBE from the then Prince Charles for his outstanding contributions to his community. His daughter proudly says that when he was getting the award from His Majesty, he mentioned that Charles himself should also think about fostering – cheekily pointing out that he had a lot of spare rooms.
Emdad is so proud to have received his MBE and has the pictures up in his kitchen. Of his latest honour he said “It is great to be recognised in this way especially when I love the work that I do so much as it’s so close to my heart.”
“Fostering or parenting is the most challenging job but when you can do something positive it’s also the most satisfying.”
Mahfuza echoes this saying it makes her so happy when she sees some of her foster children now, they still refer to her as mum.
Both also mentioned that everybody should do something good for their community and that if they did they would feel happier as a result.
We congratulate Emdad and Mahfuza.