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Queen's Birthday Honours: MBE for man who helped open adoption to Muslim community

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 June 2019

Emdad Talukder has been awarded an MBE for his services to fostering and adoption in Tower Hamlets. Picture via Emdad Talukder.

Emdad Talukder has been awarded an MBE for his services to fostering and adoption in Tower Hamlets. Picture via Emdad Talukder.

Emdad Talukder

The Queen has awarded a man an MBE for his 20 years' work in fostering and for helping open adoption to the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets.

Emdad Hossein Talukder, 65, speaks to people about fostering and adoption in hard-to-reach places in his work for the council.

The Muslim, black and LGBT communities are all people he helps educate about the system.

Now in Kensington, he used to live on the door-step of Whitechapel Market.

"Anywhere I've got any opportunity to get access to the community, I take that opportunity," he said.

His job takes him to churches, mosques, and community and children's centres - wherever he thinks he can reach people.

As part of his role, Mr Talukder has also translated dozens of documents into Bengali to help spread information.

Around 55,000 children in England live in foster care. More than 7,000 extra foster carers are needed to meet demand this year, according to charity The Fostering Network.

Mr Talukder's entry into the world of fostering came when he and his wife, Mahfuza Rahman, brought a foster child into their home for the first time in 1999.

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They have now helped a total of four children in the same way.

In 2000, Mr Talukder began work for the council, tying to get more families to take part. The barriers facing those families are ideological as well as practical.

The Quran bans children from taking the name of their adoptive father, a rule that meant many in the Muslim community felt unable to adopt.

Mr Talukder helped get a new legal tool called 'special guardianship' approved by the Shariah Council of Britain to get over this in 2005.

Special guardianship allows families look after children until they are 18, but they keep some links to their biological parents.

"There are many Muslim children in this country, they also need adoption, because they can't get out [of the system] on a short-term basis. They need long-term families."

In 2017, he was granted a special guardianship order for a child he had been looking after since the boy was two.

Now 21, Kabir G (Mr Talukder declined to give his full name) married a woman in Bangladesh in 2018.

"I'm happy that, throughout my life, I was able to educate and motivate many people to consider fostering.

Despite reaching the age where many people would be thinking about retirement, Mr Talukder said he's not leaving.

He's going to stick at it for as long as he can.

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