My name is ‘Dawit’. I am 28 I am from Eritrea. I came to the UK to seek asylum. I left Eritrea because my life was endangered by the ruling party. As most other young Eritreans I also suffered from the endless military and national service conscription. I therefore left Eritrea for these two reasons: one because my life was under threat by the political establishment and two because I was destined for a life of military service which is like being imprisoned or like slavery.
Along with many other young Eritreans I was rounded up and taken to military and detention camps. I managed to escape the camp and with the support of my family I made my way to Europe for a better life.
I arrived to the UK via Calais. I hid in the back of a lorry with other strangers. Upon arrival we were caught by the police and taken to the station where I claimed asylum. The police treated us very well. I will always remember that journey from Calais to England. It was extremely cold in the back of the lorry since it was the month of January. We were very exhausted and hungry. So we were relieved to see the police. They took us to the station and provided us with food.
From London I arrived to Cardiff. When the authorities told me I was going to Cardiff in Wales, I had never heard of it. People told me that they spoke a different language there. I was confused at first when I came and saw the Welsh language.
I first heard of the Trinity Centre when I was living in my hostel accommodation. At the Trinity Centre I accessed English classes, social activities, hot food and light refreshments as well as recreational activities which helped to distract my mind from my troubles. Here I have a chance to meet old friends and make new ones. It is a warm and friendly atmosphere and I have a chance to share new experiences and ideas.
When I first arrived I knew nobody but now I know many people due to the Trinity Centre. I know people not only from my country but from across the world. The staff here are friendly and helpful. They there to solve any problems we might face.
With the help of the Trinity Centre we have slowly began setting up the Eritrean Society. With the centre and its space we are able to educate the general public about the issues Eritreans face and about Eritrean culture and heritage. We also have a forum called DPIA (Displaced People in Action) to discuss our needs as a community. One of the things we are currently involved in is Black History Month and preparing a visit from a Member of Parliament.
Without at the Trinity Centre I would not have had the chance to participate in the wider community and the centre means a lot to the young Eritreans and other asylum seekers and refugees living in Cardiff.