My name is 'Mamadou', I am from Mali and have lived in Senegal, Turkey, Greece and now Cardiff.
I fled Mali because of persecution from the Fulla, who are a branch of local organised criminals. This was in 2007 and I first went to Turkey, then I moved to Greece where I met some people who showed me how to make a living collecting scrap metal, which I did for 6 years and gave me deep cuts on my hands.
I’ll never forget the journey from Turkey to Greece, it took 10 hours because we had problems on the water. The coast guard had to come and remove us from our boat because the waves were so strong. We were all crying.
I decided to leave Greece in 2012 after I met someone from my village who explained that my mother had passed away and I then travelled to the UK with some other people seeking asylum.
In July 2013 I arrived in London and applied for asylum. I was dispersed to Cardiff and I was placed in a house with other asylum seekers and I first came to the Trinity Centre when a friend I met here in Cardiff told me about the friendly and helpful people there.
After one year, I was made homeless because my application for asylum was rejected. I was destitute, without Asylum Support or anywhere to live.
I came to the CASA (Cardiff Asylum Seekers Advocacy) in the Trinity Centre to seek help with finding somewhere to live.
Chloe helped me put together an appeal for the refusal of housing. I was homeless for 3 weeks in total and I was sleeping in a church that has a service for over-night stays for homeless people that the Trinity Centre staff had referred me to. I was given a court date in London, but this was cancelled and the decision was overturned, so I was given somewhere to live. If I hadn’t had help from the Trinity Centre, I don’t know what would have happened to me.
The Trinity Centre helps a lot of people like me, who have lost everything, by launching appeals; providing food and clothes, help with finding other services and education and English classes.
Eight months ago I started volunteering at the Trinity Centre, I come in two days a week and sometimes more. I like volunteering because I meet people and can help people who are in the same position I was.
I am in charge of the Trinity Centre football team, which I love doing. We practise every Saturday and Sunday. It’s really great because we all train together and we’re at the point now where we’re ready to have matches with other teams.
Before, when the home office asked me if I had any family, I would say no. Now I would tell them that the Trinity Centre is my family.