Ahead of the 40th Anniversary (in 2025) of Dolen Cymru, the Wales Lesotho Link – the world’s first country to country ‘twinning’ – WCIA are supporting Dolen to research and digitise archives from the founding and early years of the link.
Over Summer 2023, the Temple of Peace Heritage team and volunteers have been identifying, researching, digitising and curating materials from a range of sources. Many of Dolen’s archives are held in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, along with some at the Temple of Peace Archives in Cardiff. Research includes exploring projects prior to Dolen’s formation, through UNICEF and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign in Wales, that provided the foundations from which the link would develop into a formalised twinning from 1985 onwards. Many thousands of Welsh and Basutho volunteers have since participated in exchanges over generations that have shaped lives and world views, and contributed to community development north and south.
Archive materials are initially being drawn together within a ‘Peacemakers Feature’ on Dolen’s founding years, being curated Cardiff University student Placement Khai Nor Shahmir. Over Autumn 2023, WCIA hope to bring together a series of stories and case studies exploring key areas of partnership work between Wales and Lesotho across the decades – such as health, education, agriculture, music & culture, and sustainable development – to give an insight into the sort of changes that have been enabled through ‘people to people’ linking between Wales and Lesotho, lessons and reflections over the intervening generations.
Call for Histories, September 2023: Do you have a story to share?
Dolen and WCIA would love to hear from people in Wales who have been involved with Dolen historically – from founding in 1985, to c. 2010 – and would be happy to share their story (as a recorded oral history), photos, or archival materials that might be of interest to others in understanding the ‘Dolen journey’. Contributions would be digitised for posterity and shared online for access by future generations, and potentially used towards exhibitions and displays for the 40th Anniversary.
Please get in touch initially with any suggestions through the Dolen Cymru team, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.