In 2015, I was new to Glasgow and didn’t know many people here, someone told me I should go along to MIN as it was a friendly place and I would get to know more people and learn more about the city.
When I think back on the time I was with MIN, the memories I have are mainly about the fun times, I tried out many new things, the most interesting was music sessions, as I had never tried drumming before, and also tree-planting. We did a number of trips outside of Glasgow, the weather was terrible on most of the trips but we had so much fun doing the tree planting we didn’t care!
I made many good friends through the men’s group at MIN and joining in these activities. Another group I was a part of was MIN Voices. Here I got to speak face to face with lawyers, police officers and also MPs. One MP, Patrick Grady, was especially helpful. He really listened and gave me and two of my friends so much support. I will never forget this, he made a promise to us that he would help us, and he did. After one year of being without any communication from the Home Office, we finally got a response, we felt they had forgotten about us, but he showed us how we can make a difference.
Because of MIN, I was able to speak to him in more detail about the problems that people from Eritrea have with their asylum claims, it can be very complicated but he listened to me and, by learning about my experiences, understood more about the issues which are specific to those seeking asylum from my country. Being part of MIN Voices was very insightful for me. I learned a lot about Scottish law, customs, culture, I couldn’t have found this anywhere else in Glasgow. A big difference that being part of MIN made for my life was meeting so many new friends.
I still keep in touch with many of them, even though a few have moved away to different cities, but many stayed here in Glasgow and we still meet up. This helps a lot because if you live alone, in a new place, it’s very hard, so making friends can change your life. Staff at MIN also helped me by doing a reference for a part-time job to be an interpreter and I got the job, which was great!