‘I was forced to flee Guinea because of my family’s political opposition to the military government. After six months in the UK my asylum claim was rejected and I was left homeless, hungry and terrified of being deported.
‘It took seven years before my asylum application was accepted. In 2009 I came to ASSIST, who helped me to find a solicitor and launch a fresh claim; without this I would never have got leave to remain. They provided welfare payments and access to food, which meant it was easier to stay with friends as I could contribute something. I was no longer scared when reporting to the Border Agency, because I knew there were people who supported me.
‘Once my own situation had improved I became a volunteer, and through volunteering and helping other people I was able to focus less on my own problems. I felt like I was useful; at ASSIST I am listened to and respected, and thanks to their help I feel like I am part of British society.’