AN adventurous Cardigan woman is leading a project to explore, document and celebrate the stories of a Welsh colony living in South America.

27-year-old Stephanie Davies will set off for Patagonia, Argentina in March, and hopes to discover the important history of the Welsh experience there.

During the first half of the 19th century, Wales was gradually being absorbed into England, which threatened the future of the Welsh language.

An inspired group of 153 Welshmen and women set sail for a new life in Patagonia to preserve their culture. There are more than 50,000 Welsh descendants living there today, and 12,000 still speak Welsh as their first language.

2015 will be the 150th anniversary of the group’s voyage, and Stephanie hopes the project will be in place in time for the celebrations.

The end result will be made up of compelling film, text, stills, and audio, which will go on display in a multimedia exhibit at the newly restored Cardigan Castle.

Stephanie has paid for her own expenses, and has collected more than £2,500 in donations from local companies to create the project at a professional level.

Stephanie, who is an experienced researcher, aims to find stories in both Wales and Patagonia, interview locals in both the Welsh and English language, and create a better understanding of the Welsh Patagonians. She already has 90 fascinating characters to interview in both countries.

She said: “I want to share my excitement for this inspiring and little known story that deserves to be told.

"Using a multimedia exhibit will illuminate this almost secret history to all ages and both speakers of the Welsh and English language.

“With donations I will be able to employ professionals to edit the film, and illustrate the stories. This is a vital but expensive part of Project Hiraeth. Without these professionals, the full potential of Project Hiraeth can’t be met. I want to ensure the final work has a lasting and memorable impact on a local and wider audience."

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