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Posted On: 29th Mar 2018

Against the Odds

(left to right) Louise, Edwyna and Robyn
Edwyna Hughes
(left to right) Edwyna, Louise and Robyn

Three sisters from Banbury, who all grew up in foster homes, are showing anything is possible regardless of where you come from.

 

Twenty-one-year-old Robyn was taken into care at the age of six along with her siblings, Edwyna, 19, and Louise, 22.

 

Often separated and living with different families, the trio all beat the odds by going on to further and higher education and they now want to dispel the negative stereotypes of young people in care.

 

'We stayed with the same family for over seven years, but in the final years we were separated,' says Robyn.

 

'It was hard because we didn’t really get to say goodbye.'

 

Robyn, who is now a professional nursery worker after studying Child Care at college, said living with different families made school life difficult.

 

'I really struggled,' she said. 'I was shy and reserved and would rather be invisible. Nobody really knew I was in care except my close friends.

 

'Whenever we were studying topics related to family I would completely close up and used to dread answering any questions. My teachers seemed to dumb me down because I was a care kid.'

 

 

Meanwhile Edwyna, who is studying at Aberystwyth University, says she also finds it difficult to tell people about her past and feels like care leavers are often downtrodden by society.

 

'Growing up in care is all I can remember,' she says. 'Endless meetings with social workers, constant meetings in school to track my educational progress, peers consistently asking why I don’t call people at home “mum and dad”.

 

'Even now, I struggle to tell someone that I am in fact a former looked after person because it’s something so different from the standard nuclear family, that even after 15 years, people still don’t fully understand.

 

'I’m tired of people assuming I am a certain way because I grew up in care. They don’t understand and only hear one side: the negative side, the kids that act up in class, the kids who stay out and don’t come home, the kids who are set up to fail.'

 

The trio have created a poster campaign with Fixers, encouraging people to stop underestimating care leavers and know they are just as capable as anyone else.

 

They intend to share it around schools and universities.

 

Click below to see the poster.  

  

1800 EWE

 

Education and Drama graduate and elder sister, Louise, hopes the campaign will give hope to other young people in care to know they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

 

'We can use our stories to positively impact the world,' she says. 'I'm fed up of there being this image that care kids and care leavers won't amount to much. I'm tired of the stereotypes put upon us. 

 

'I don't look at it as “oh, we've come from a care background,” I look at it as if we're like any normal person because that's who we are.

 

'Being in care doesn't define who you are. Make it a label you own. It gives you experiences that “normal” young people don't have. It gives you something extra. So use your status to turn that negative stereotype of care kids on its head.'

 

Author: N. Farooq

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