My name is Latoya. I come from Barbados. I'm 28 and a participant in Oxfam Cymru's Sanctuary in Wales project based in Oasis, Cardiff for women refugees and asylum seekers. I am a single mother of two, one whom has a disability. My claim for asylum has been refused and I am awaiting my final appeal.
When I came to Cardiff I had no family, friends or community support and really struggled to cope . I slipped into depression and each day seemed hopeless to me.
Then I came across Oasis. I took a course in teaching English funded by Oxfam with Swansea University. Then Helen Gubb ,a support worker with Sanctuary in Wales asked me to run a women's only singing group.
I was delighted because I am a singer/ songwriter and love music. I taught the ladies couple of songs, mainly rounds that I learnt at a singing class I attended.
I then took part in an art workshop at Oasis where I made a collage of my life's journey. Soon I was enrolled into a Music and Media course run by Cardiff and Vale College linked with Ministry of Life. In this course we have to plan, organise and perform at a festival called Capital City Jam in Sophia Gardens on August 3.
I was also accepted to do a 20-day work experience course with Radio Cardiff arranged by Sanctuary in Wales, and Business in the Community. As the weeks went on I grew more confident and my self-esteem was given a great boost. I learnt various things like recording and editing my own radio shows, the different levelling of music and voice volumes, cues and
I then moved on to doing live radio shows. The experience I had with Radio Cardiff really boosted my self esteem. I feel like I'm moving forward in life. You can find out more about Capital City Jam here.
STOP PRESS: Since writing this, Latoya has learned she has been granted leave to remain in the UK for several years.
Sanctuary in Wales is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Wales.