Welsh Asian Heritage Project Update
We have been busy over the last few months with the project launch, the recruitment of additional project team members, listening to people’s stories, engaging volunteers, establishing local partnerships, making contact with other oral history projects and celebrating several festivals.
Today, 10 December, marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that enshrines fundamental rights for all human beings regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
It is a sobering reminder that almost all these rights were contravened when in 1972, Idi Amin, the then President of Uganda, expelled over 80,000 Asians. Around 28,000 people came to the UK and about 1700 people came to be accommodated at an old army camp in Tonfanau, Gwynedd.
Chandrika Joshi was one of the residents at Tonfanau. She shared her powerful memories and emotions of that time at the project launch on 5 October 2023.
An address by Dawn Bowden MS and Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, and contributions from Christopher Catling, CEO of the Royal Commission, and Perminder Dhillon, Project Leader of this Welsh Asian Heritage Project, formed part of the project launch. The event was chaired by Professor Nancy Edwards, the Commission’s Chair.
Following the successful launch of the project, many individuals and organisations have been in touch with us, keen to take part in the project activities.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to use existing skills and knowledge to make a positive difference to people’s lives. It is also an opportunity to enhance skills and experience and can be a route to paid employment.
We welcome volunteers to assist with interviewing, recording, and archiving of oral histories and to support the mapping and recording of cultural, religious, and historically significant places.
There are several training days planned for volunteers in January and February 2024. To book a place and to log your volunteering interest, email the project on WAHproject@rcahmw.gov.uk.
Become a community contact person and help the project to connect with local communities, especially in remote rural areas. This will provide an opportunity for wide engagement with all communities; to help facilitate dialogue amongst different cultural groups; for knowledge exchange and for building local community cohesion.
Community contacts will also help the project with the travelling exhibition that is planned for 2024/25. Get in touch with us to be a Community Contact. We look forward to hearing from you .
We are keen to record as many personal stories as we can for the oral archive and particularly want to reach people who seldom get a chance to tell theirs. We are here to listen with compassion and with empathy to explore journeys from expulsion to resilience and can converse in several Asian languages. Please get in touch to share your story.
Wellbeing practitioner volunteers
Trauma informed wellbeing practitioners can help to support interviewees to deal with the immediate emotions that may arise during the retelling of their stories. We welcome wellbeing practitioners from all holistic disciplines to work with us.
Local artists, photographers and filmmakers can help to tell and reimagine stories as well as build vibrant displays for the national and touring exhibitions which are planned for 2024 and 2025. Several exciting ideas have emerged from initial discussions, and we will develop these further in the new year.
Community of Interest
Everyone can support the project by joining the project’s Community of Interest to get updates and notifications including about our monthly seminars.
Our monthly seminars provide a platform for wider debate around equality, migration, resilience, identity, culture, and heritage.
Our first seminar will be on 25 January 2024 on the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan – paving the way for a more racially inclusive society by 2030. The second seminar on Journeys of Resilience will be held on 21February 2024 and feature two women writers, one an award winning journalist.
To hear more about the seminars and other updates, sign up to the project’s Community of Interest: http://eepurl.com/iALGp6
Several oral history projects, at different stages of development, have contacted us to explore how we can work together. We are planning a collaboration event in February to bring together all the Welsh Asian Heritage Projects. Get in touch if you are interested in being part of this.
Different communities celebrated religious and cultural festivals during the months of October and November, including the festival of Diwali which is one of the biggest and most colourful. We thank all the individuals and organisatons who contributed information and photographs from their celebrations of Diwali, Bandi Chhor Divas and Navratri.
The latest celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birth Anniversary organised by the Sikh Council of Wales was held on 26 November 2023 at Cardiff University. Both Professor Nancy Edwards, the Commission’s chair, and Perminder Dhillon attended the event which provided a rich opportunity for networking and for sharing information.
As we approach the upcoming celebrations, we would like to extend all best wishes from the Welsh Asian Heritage Team for the Bodhi Day, Christmas, Hannukkah and the winter solstice. We have set a reminder in the project’s calendar for all the upcoming festivals in 2024. Enjoy your celebrations and have a very happy new year 2024.
Perminder Dhillon, Project Leader of Welsh Asian Heritage Project: Celebrating and Archiving the Experiences of Ugandan Asians.
Contact the project at WAHproject@rcahmw.gov.uk and Tel: 01970 621 234
Read other project blogs
- The Power of Volunteering: A Volunteer’s Tale by Jyoti Ramjee
- Diwali Festival by Manjushaw Gurindapalli, Education and Volunteering Community Officer at Llandudno Museum
- Bandi Chhor Divas by Avleen Kaur and Jasmeet Kaur, Sikh Gurdwara, Cardiff
- Navratri celebrations by Skanda Vale, Carmarthen and Sanatan Dharma Mandal and Hindu Community Centre, Cardiff
- Welsh Asian Heritage Project: Celebrating and Archiving the Experiences of Ugandan Asians