I am Dr Carol Homden, Chief Executive of Coram. I am here to act for children at risk, for those in need of permanent, loving homes, for those vulnerable, neglected and abandoned.
Colleagues at Coram have been changing the world for children for almost three centuries. We are as restless for better chances for children today as we have been since the 1720s, when our Founder, Thomas Coram, first campaigned to help infants abandoned on the streets of London. We follow in his footsteps.
Coram is a group of charities making sure that children do not fall through the cracks between education, health and social care and still working for those who find themselves alone and afraid on the streets or unable to access the help and support they need.
I am delighted that Ajaz.org is supporting the work of the Coram Children's Legal Centre, specifically The Coram Legal Practice. This is a specialist in immigration and education law and works with a network of pro bono lawyers to give the advice and representation and bring the cases needed to enable children often living in destitution to have a fair chance and get their lives back on track.
Our community puts children and families first. Our community of staff and young volunteers, stand together to ensure that children’s rights are championed and upheld, no matter what.
At the Coram Legal Practice, we see children in families without recourse to public funds, struggling without access to the services they need because of their unresolved immigration status. Children who have spent their whole lives in the UK, even those in local authority care, can find themselves without the right to advance their education or build a future because they do not have a passport.
It can take years and thousands of pounds that they do not have living life in the shadows without the ability to work or even volunteer in the place they call home. And because they are ineligible for legal aid, children and young people are unable to access the advice and representation to make their case and resolve their status for the future.
When we secure the education a disabled child needs or gets permanent status for a family, the whole course of their lives is different for the better.
The Fighting Fund, made possible by ajaz.org, is designed to break down the first barriers that these children and families face, helping Coram's lawyers to start to make the case for the regularisation of their status. It will enable Coram to go on to take the next steps to change young lives forever.
Roma is a ten year old from Italy who has lived in the UK since she was two months old. She has severe cognitive impairment due to foetal alcohol syndrome, and she uses a wheelchair. Roma was taken into care around her first birthday but needed help to protect her right to live in the UK, the place she calls home. Thanks to Coram, Roma was not only granted settled status but British citizenship so securing her rights to health care and support for the rest of her life.
Coram's Young Citizens show what is possible when migrant young people have the chance to contribute to society – developing their skills through the service of others, tackling stigma and building tolerance and inclusion.
Here at Coram, they are a vital part of our community, helping to drive further positive change for those who come after them.
“Being part of the Young Citizen's Programme is life changing. I've seen, as an asylum seeker myself, that we tend to feel that we’re rejected or that we don't belong or we are abandoned. With Coram and the Young Citizen’s programme, it’s the total opposite of that. They will fight with you until the end, alongside you. This is something which is very rare for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to experience.”
- Abdullahi, Young Citizens Trainer and Asylum Seeker
We support children ranging from newborn to 25 years of age. We support children with all disabilities and additional needs as well as their parents, carers and siblings. No one is turned away. Our families and children are all welcomed with open arms. We are a community.