Outreach to celebrate and preserve cultural heritage with The Swadhinata Trust

  • October 3, 2023

The Swadhinata Trust is a London-based secular Bengali heritage organisation that works to promote Bengali history and culture in the UK. We have formed a partnership to collaborate on a series of events and activities that aim to increase the representation and visibility of Bengali heritage and culture on Wikimedia platforms. The partnership also seeks to engage and empower the British Bangladeshi community in the UK to contribute to and benefit from free and open knowledge.

Our partnership started in August 2022 with an email from us to the Swadhinata Trust, expressing interest in working together. After an online call to discuss the possibilities, our volunteer coordinator visited the Swadhinata Trust’s management committee to introduce themselves and explain more about Wikimedia projects. The Swadhinata Trust was enthusiastic and agreed to participate in an introductory online workshop to learn more about our movement.

The online workshop took place in February 2023, and was attended by Ansar, Abu and Val from the Swadhinata Trust; as well as Stuart from Wikimedia UK, who led the workshop, and Tahmina, who supported Stuart as a volunteer. We also had a guest from the West Bengal Wikimedians User Group to introduce their Wikimedia projects in the region.

The online workshop was followed by an in-person workshop at the Wikimedia UK office in April 2023, where participants learned how to create an account and to edit Wikipedia articles, as well as how to find reliable sources and avoid conflicts of interest. They also learned how to upload images to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository that anyone can use. They explored some of the existing articles on Bengali topics and brainstormed for potential contributions.

The partnership between Wikimedia UK and the Swadhinata Trust is an example of how Wikimedia projects can be used to celebrate and preserve diverse cultural heritage and foster community engagement. It also demonstrates how Wikimedia UK works with local community organisations to support their missions and amplify their voices.

If you are interested in learning more about this partnership or getting involved in any of the activities, please get in touch with us or visit the Swadhinata Trust website.

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