The 19th of November 2019 was the day I left El Salvador, carrying my life in a suitcase. Why, with my 79-year-old mother and my 13-year-old son would I leave my country? El Salvador is a beautiful tropical country with amazing people, but the Maras gangsters threatened to kill us if we didn’t give them money. They don’t care if you have the money or not, If they don’t receive it, they look for you and kill you.

We arrived here afraid and with our hearts full of sadness. We asked for asylum in an unknown country but even so, when we arrived, the people treated us with respect and dignity.

When Oasis received us, they made us feel like family. We didn’t feel alone, we felt respected and supported. Everyone that works there is not only a worker, they care.

We participated in the choir, in Art, English, and Sewing classes, and now I’m a volunteer there because I want all the people that arrive to feel cared for like we did.

We went to many places singing with the Oasis choir. Laura is a warm and friendly teacher and we spent time and made friends with other asylum seekers. It was incredible.

I am still involved in the Blancot project, which is brilliant. I’m learning to make winter coats out of vintage Welsh blankets. I can forget all my problems there and make beautiful coats. Our teacher, Catherine is professional, patient, respectful, and very kind. The process is incredible, and I would never have imagined all the steps and details inside the coat that no one else sees.

Everything has to be exact; the measurements, the cutting, the seams, and hand sewing. Moreover, I really like when the customers love their coats.

When I was 5 years old, my grandmother taught me how to make dresses for my doll by hand. I always saw her making her own clothes and she even she made garments for me.

She was a teacher outside the city and would come home late in the evening. She used to sew her dresses at night by hand, using the light of a candle. 

Nobody can erase all these beautiful memories, so not only did I come here with my suitcase full, but my head and my heart too.

We are only beginning our life here, and all these memories will help us move on, to keep all good memories and forget bad ones.

This country and its people are beautiful and we hope to become productive people for Wales and show our appreciation for the welcome they gave us.


Blancot is a sustainable tailoring project in collaboration with refugees and asylum seekers at Oasis Cardiff. The project an opportunity for participants to improve their employability and language skills and gain a sense of well-being and achievement.

The primary project involved creating custom coats from vintage Welsh blankets. The off-cuts are made into lavender hearts, draft excluders, and hot water bottle covers.

All items are available to purchase and coats can be pre-ordered via our online shop:

You can also follow this project on Instagram: @blan_cot