If memory serves me correctly, it was 1987, when my mother welcomed three Pakistani foster children into our home. The mother of these children – an 8 year old girl and her two younger brothers – was murdered by their father. With neither of their parents in their lives, they stayed with a kind Christian foster family before a social worker from the Children’s Aid Society, who was also a family friend, asked my mother to open our home to them. The children were eventually repatriated with their mother’s family in Pakistan. But the few months they were with us made an impression on me and my siblings. We shared our space and belongings, and made them part of our family. And we occasionally got a glimpse of the trauma they carry from the loss of their mother.

Fast-forward thirty years later. It’s April 2017 and a representative from Children’s Aid Society of York Region has asked to address the Friday congregation at our local mosque. He says that in their care are children from the Muslim community but there is only one certified Muslim caregiver family in the entire region.

Aggravated and puzzled, I picked up the letter and brochure the representative left behind with a determination of seeing a change in these numbers.

Teaming up with two capable Mercy Mission leaders – Sara Moselhy and Taskeen Mansur – and with financial support from Mercy Mission Canada, we started FosterLink. FosterLink’s mission is to increase awareness, facilitate intake and provide support to Muslim foster caregivers. Working together we can make a difference.

You, I, and most of us enjoy a prosperous life in Canada. But poverty, poor health, domestic violence, and children from broken families exist. And we, as privileged Muslims, must do something about it, God willing.

Shahzad Mustafa
Mercy Mission Canada