CBHC / RCAHMW > News > Welsh Asian Heritage Project update
Perminder Dhillon with First Minister Mark Drakeford at the Republic Day celebrations at the India Centre, Cardiff, on 26 January 2024.

Welsh Asian Heritage Project update

The first two months of 2024 have been busy for us. We share some highlights:

  • Radha Patel and Robin Chaddah-Duke joined the project at the end of January as part-time Community Engagement Officers based in Cardiff. They have started in earnest to engage with local communities and to develop links with potential interviewees from the Ugandan Asian communities. They are eager for individuals and organisations to be in touch. You can contact them on wahproject@rcahmw.gov.uk.
  • Farah Alibhai is an Ismaili Ugandan heritage woman, an artist and a historian, and joins Sai Giridhar and Chandrika Joshi our other freelance team members.
Radha Patel out and about in the community.
Radha Patel out and about in the community.
Robin Chaddah-Duke capturing community photographs.
Robin Chaddah-Duke capturing community photographs.

Farah is conducting research on how the Ismaili Muslim community (which is a minority within the Muslim ummah as well as within the South Asian diaspora) settled in Wales as a direct result of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians. She is also interviewing key members of the community capturing their stories of expulsion and of migration.

Sai Giridhar has an architectural background and a professional interest in Asian sacred spaces and is working on the mammoth task of mapping and recording cultural, religious, and historically important buildings and places for Asian communities. Stories of people connected with these buildings and spaces are also being recorded.

Chandrika Joshi is a retired dentist and now a story teller and was a resident at the Tonfanau resettlement camp, Gwynedd, after the expulsion from Uganda in 1972. Camp. She is conducting interviews with first generation Ugandan Asians who were also at the camp. Chandrika has supported our project from inception.

Please contact us if you would like to be involved with any of these areas of the project.  

  • Our first monthly seminar on the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan – paving the way for a more racially inclusive society – was held on 25January 2024 with   Usha Ladwa-Thomas and Nashima Begum as keynote speakers. This is now available to view on Youtube:

The monthly seminars are designed to create a wider debate around equality, migration, resilience, identity, culture and heritage.

Our second seminar on ‘From migration to resilience’  was on 21st February and featured two writers – Amrit Wilson, an award winning journalist and author of the book ‘Finding a Voice’ (which was the first compilation of Asian women’s experiences in the UK, first published in 1978 and writer Bharti Dhir whose experiences as a Black Sikh heritage woman expelled from Uganda is captured in her book ‘Worth’ published in 2021.  

Seminars for April, May and June will be on the emerging Girmitya project in Wales, the completed ‘Muslims in Wales’ project, and the work being done to support museums on decolonialising their collections.  Speakers will include Prof. Keshav Singhal, Sue Tranka Wales Chief Nursing Officer, Judge Ray Singh; Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed, Deputy Director, Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, University of Cardiff and Dr. Marian Gwyn.  

Recordings of these seminars will become available on the Commission’s Youtube channel shortly after each talk: https://www.youtube.com/c/rcahmw

  • The project’s Community of Interest is growing with fifty-five individuals and organisations registered to receive information, updates and event notifications. You can also join the Community of Interest by clicking on this link: http://eepurl.com/iALGp6
  • Several audio and video interviews have been recorded with Ugandan Asians for the project’s oral history archive. Many people have offered to share their stories and we have a busy schedule of recordings over the next few months.
  • The team members have been out and about supporting community events. Project Leader Perminder Dhillon attended the Republic Day celebrations at the India Centre, Cardiff, on 26 January 2024 and met and spoke to the First Minister Mark Drakeford who was very interested in the project.
Perminder Dhillon with First Minister Mark Drakeford at the Republic Day celebrations at the India Centre, Cardiff, on 26 January 2024.
Perminder Dhillon with First Minister Mark Drakeford at the Republic Day celebrations at the India Centre, Cardiff, on 26 January 2024.
Jyoti Ramjee with Nimisha Madhvani, the High Commissioner of Uganda at the India Overseas Trust, BUA50 event in London, 31 January 2024.
Jyoti Ramjee with Nimisha Madhvani, the High Commissioner of Uganda at the India Overseas Trust, BUA50 event in London, 31 January 2024.

Jyoti Ramjee our Outreach Officer attended the India Overseas Trust commemoration event 31 January 2024 and met Ms. Nimisha Jayant Madhvani, Uganda’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Radha Patel and Robin Chaddah-Duke have visited various community places and events and distributed project information.

Project Leader Perminder Dhillon attended the screening of the film Mujib: The Making of a Nation on 28 February at the invitation of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Ms. Bablin Molik. The event was organised by Cardiff based Bengal Dragons Foundation to celebrate the International Mother Language Day which is observed every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Following passionate introductory speeches, the film Mujib: The Making of a Nation directed by the renowned Indian film director, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Shyam Benegal was screened. The film follows Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s life, his struggles and the political events that led to the war for the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 giving him the title of ‘Father of the Nation’.

  • As always, we welcome volunteers to support us on all aspects of the project.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Perminder Dhillon,
Project Leader

Welsh Asian Heritage Project: Celebrating and Archiving the Experiences of Ugandan Asians.
Contact the project by emailing WAHproject@rcahmw.gov.uk or calling 01970 621 234

04/03/2024

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