Former Asylum Seeker Wins Prestigious Credit Union Award

A former asylum seeker who has helped his community avoid loan sharks and high interest lenders has received a prestigious award from the Credit Unions of Wales.

Mamadu Djalo received the “Member Making a Difference” award from BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE at The Pierhead in Cardiff Bay in recognition for his outstanding work within the African community of Butetown, Cardiff.

He said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award and want to thank Cardiff & Vale Credit Union for all of their support they have given the asylum seeker community in Cardiff.

“Without a credit union many of them would have turned to unethical borrowers and would have spiralled into even more debt.”

Mamadu joined Cardiff & Vale Credit Union in 2015 after moving to Cardiff with his family, having fled his native Guinea Bissau.
He has since become a community leader for others originally from the same region, who have also settled in Wales.

He encouraged a significant number of asylum seekers from Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Cameron and Senegal to become credit union members.

Mamadu delivers awareness raising sessions amongst his community during community gatherings about the risk of loan sharks, and directs members who need affordable credit to the credit union,

Leanne Herberg, Chief Executive of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union said; “To this day, Mamadu still consistently continues to promote our credit union services amongst his community. He is a true unsung hero, both to his community and the credit union movement.”

Tom Owens, Manager of Progress Systems Ltd who sponsored the event said: ““The Credit Unions of Wales Awards illustrate the commitment and dedication of businesses, workers, organisations, members and volunteers towards the global credit union movement.

“It shows how credit unions are building communities and helping people manage their finances for a better future.”

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Credit unions offer an ethical and affordable way of saving and borrowing for us all. They are a way we can contribute as a community to support those who are experiencing hardship, debt and poverty. This is more important than ever in light of the current cost-of-living crisis.

“We can all help underpin this ethical borrowing and saving service for those who need it as an alternative to payday loans.
“I believe that together we can make a huge difference to the financial wellbeing of people across our nation.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for all they do to further the incredible work of ethical savings and loan providers across Wales.”

Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government, the Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place at The Pierhead on Cardiff Bay before an audience of almost 100 guests.

There were eight categories with a winner and highly commended named for each. The awards were presented by BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE.

The Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place on International Credit Union Day (Thursday 20 October)

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