Stories From Our Sisters In Sunderland

Our Sisters in Sunderland exhibition, in the Museum & Winter Gardens.
Our Sisters in Sunderland exhibition, in the Museum & Winter Gardens.
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TALES of how Wearside became the new home for a host of women have been captured in sounds and pictures.

Stories From Our Sisters In Sunderland has been spearheaded by the charity Sangini and includes the true-life accounts of their journey which brought them to the city.

Through a photographic exhibition, a website, audio clips and a book, they reveal their experiences of how they came to put down roots in Sunderland.

Women from countries including Senegal, Zimbabwe, Assam, China, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Malta feature in the display, with their images set against landmarks including Penshaw Monument to the National Gallery of Contemporary Arts.

More than 100 women of all ages took part in the project, which took 18 months to put together.

Among them was Sreelekha Reddy, 62, who is originally from Hyderabad in India, and is a founder member of Sangini as well as a former owner of a North-East care home.

Sreelekha said: “Taking part in the project has helped me to remember a part of my life that I had left behind in India, and recollect the journey I undertook since arriving in Britain.

“It has been deeply moving to retrace the early steps I took to settle down in Sunderland.

“This is where I settled with my family and my children have grown up.”

Dr Gitika Banerjee, 77, grew up during World War II in Burma and her story includes an account of how she survived.

The first Asian Tyne and Wear High Sheriff, she still works with the Children’s Foundation and raises money for charities based in Sunderland and India.

Gitika said: “Wherever I went, I mixed with people because I enjoyed finding out what they were like. Was there anything interesting which I could learn from them?

“So from that point of view, I found it very funny, but as soon they took my ways of life and I took their ways of life, we never got upset about anything.”

The project is supported through a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, Community Foundation and Sherburn Trust and was organised in partnership with Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland Library Services, Tyne & Wear Archives, Local Studies Group and community groups.

The stories can be found via, with the display hosted at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens until Sunday, August 31.