Dardasha began life as an oral history project which documented the migratory experiences of first generation Moroccan women who came to the UK between 1960-1990 and settled in the Portobello area of London. For the Nour Festival Dardasha brought the story up to the present day, to include the British born and raised daughters and grand-daughters of these pioneering women.
A large number of the Moroccans who first migrated to the UK were in fact women, but the emotional realities of their female experiences of migration, leaving behind their families and making a new life in a new country, had previously been largely hidden from view and thus often misunderstood. These women tend to live out their lives behind closed doors and are too often ignored in favour of their male counterparts when it comes to academic research.
Dardasha for the first time gives the women the opportunity to share their individual stories with the wider communities in which they live. These women have made a significant contribution to British society and the economy, providing a much-needed workforce and raising new generations in the spirit of cultural and religious tolerance and respect which is at the very heart of what it means to be both Moroccan and British.
In an age where there is much discussion and debate around issues of ethnicity and multiculturalism, Dardasha seeks to present women who migrated to the UK alongside their real and metaphorical daughters and grand-daughters, to reveal a group of individuals who are each developing their own unique identity and undergoing their own personal journey.
Dardasha: Testimonies of Migration by Moroccan Women is edited by Samantha Herron.