They came to Britain looking for work.
But their desire for a better life ended in tragedy.
The workers were clearing out a bay at a metal recycling plant in Birmingham when a concrete wall collapsed on top of them.
More than two years after their deaths the inquest into what happened opened with statements from their families.
Ousmane Diaby’s wife said she’d spoken to her husband the night before.
She said, "he asked me if I loved him.
I told him I did.
And he was the only person I loved."
Ousmane’s housemate Almamo Jammeh also died.
His widow said she and her children were just days away from joining him in the UK.
She said, "it has devastated us.
The little children asked every day for their dad.
They don’t know he has died.
Giving evidence today Detective Inspector Nigel Harrison told the jury that the blocks were slotted together, but not fixed.
He said it was his understanding that the weight of metal in a neighbouring bay leaning against the wall had caused it to collapse.
The inquest will hear evidence from a number of witnesses including a man who was rescued from the scene.
It’s expected to last two and a half weeks.
At the end of day one, the families left court hoping that their wait for answers is almost over.