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Migration Museum
Image: Migration Museum

Lewisham’s Migration Museum has received a large donation from a migrant businessman

An Indian entrepreneur has gifted the institution £25,000

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

Even before the Ukraine crisis, a museum in a south London shopping centre had a reasonable claim to be one of the capital’s most relevant and timely. The Migration Museum was set up in 2013, initially as a series of pop-ups, but since 2020 has occupied an empty retail space inside Lewisham’s Shopping Centre. Its mandate has been to highlight the plight and stories of those fleeing global conflict, oppression and prejudice. As part of that, it even brought sections of the Berlin Wall and installed them next to the Nike store.

Now the Migration Museum has received a huge shot in the arm in the form of a £25,000 donation from a local businessman, himself a migrant to the UK. Indian entrepreneur Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia made the gift, saying, ‘Britain’s migration history is at the heart of our national story […]I have been struck by the importance of migrants telling their own stories in their own words. It is essential that these stories have a permanent long-term home. I would urge more members of the Indian diaspora to back this important project.’

Ahluwalia came to the UK as a refugee in 1972, after he and his family were forced to flee the brutal regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. He is now planning to return to India.

His donation will help the museum fund forthcoming exhibitions, including April’s ‘Taking Care of Business: Migrant Entrepreneurs and the Making of Britain’ and support it in its long-term goal of finding a permanent home in the capital. It opens again in April.

Migration Museum, Lewisham Shopping Centre. Closed until Apr 6.

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