From the Far East to the East End – history project to record memories of women who migrated to Sunderland

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A WEARSIDE women’s group has been handed a £60,000 cash windfall.

Pennywell-based Sangini will use the funding to launch Stories from Our Sisters in Sunderland, which will explore the experiences of older women who have lived in the city since migrating from countries including China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and also Eastern Europe.

A total of 25 volunteers will receive training in oral history skills, allowing them to visit communities to collect stories.

They will also have the opportunity to take part in creative heritage workshops.

In total, the group was given a Heritage Lottery grant of £48,500, a Community Foundation grant of £10,000 from the Kellett Fund and £2,000 from the Sherburn House Charity.

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “This project will affect so many people living in this community, encouraging a variety of conversations to take place across the diverse range of cultures that make up Sunderland.”

Set up in 2002, Sangini is a black and minority ethnic-led charity which aims to improve the quality of women’s lives by increasing their physical, mental and spiritual health, through educational, creative and activities that highlight cultural diversity.

Padma Rao, chairman of Sangini, said the funding would also allow volunteers to work together to produce a touring exhibition, publication and celebration event.

“Many early migrants to Sunderland are now ageing, fast taking their stories with them,” she said.

“The project aims to collect these unknown and hidden stories before they are lost by seeking to engage women from Sunderland’s ethnic communities and share them with the wider community in a celebration of their shared cultural diversity.

“This valuable support from our funders means we can continue to empower women to tell their untold life stories in Sunderland.”

For more information about Sangini, which is based at Pennywell Community Centre, visit

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