Paralympian launches campaign to find adoptive parents for disabled children in Tower Hamlets

Wheelchair rugby athlete Bulbul Hussain

Wheelchair rugby athlete Bulbul Hussain - Credit: Tower Hamlets council - submitted

A Paralympic athlete and a toddler with special needs have launched a new campaign to find foster carers or adoptive parents for children with disabilities.

Foster carer Shanawaz Khan plays with Tonbir,three, a child with complex needs who is looking for an

Foster carer Shanawaz Khan plays with Tonbir,three, a child with complex needs who is looking for an adoptive home. - Credit: Archant

Bulbul Hussain, whose wheelchair rugby team came fifth at London 2012, and three-year-old Tonbir, who is looking for a permanent home, officially unveiled Tower Hamlets Council’s “Catch. Don’t Pass” campaign at the Town Hall in Canary Wharf on Monday.

The toddler, who suffers from a complex range of physical and mental disabilities, has been in care since he was born, but would love to have his own mum and dad.

Bulbul, who lives in Whitechapel, said: “All children need love, support and care to reach their true potential. Children with disabilities are no different.

“It would be great if everyone supported the ‘Catch. Don’t Pass Campaign’ and made a real difference in Tower Hamlets.

“Let’s find Tonbir, and all children who need an adoptive home from Tower Hamlets, a champion who will change their life.”

The toddler, who will be the face of the campaign, started attending the Stephen Hawking Special School, in Brunton Place, Limehouse, in September last year and has made such good progress he’s now able to run, jump, and climb.

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He has a limited ability to speak, but his foster carers say he is a smiley, happy little boy who loves to be cuddled.

Council bosses are hoping the campaign will be helped by social media, and set up a special slogan or hashtag, #home4tonbir, for the social networking website Twitter.

Tower Hamlets Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, said: “It is a sad fact that there is a national shortage of loving homes for children who need to be adopted. We are trying to redress that trend in Tower Hamlets, and in particular, find permanent homes for our children with disabilities.”

Cllr Oliur Rahman, cabinet member for children, schools and families, added the council provides lots of support, so prospective parents shouldn’t be put off if they haven’t looked after a disabled child before.

For more information about how to adopt in Tower Hamlets, call 0800 279 9850 or email