As the world marks Martin Luther King Jnr Day today (15th) it’s a reminder of his unifying message that our common humanity transcends other factors such as colour, religion, race and caste.

The famous US human rights and social justice leader advocated for peaceful ways to make the world a more equitable and fairer place during a time when the US was segregated along racial lines.

Creating a more inclusive society that focuses on what unifies us as human beings is central to the aims of the Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots project run by global education charity Devon Development Education in the towns of Ilfracombe and Honiton.

Hilda Kalap, Project Coordinator, says: “People think of Devon as being monocultural when in fact there is a rich hidden history of multiculturalism in the county which goes back for centuries. We’re bringing the stories of those from other cultures to light so future generations can see their positive contribution to society.   By the end of the project we’ll be leaving a legacy in the shape of new exhibitions, booklets and educational resources that give a broader view of history.”

Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots is looking for more volunteers in Honiton and Ilfracombe who have interest in heritage, history, storytelling and interviewing to take part. The hours are flexible, full training given and expenses covered.

Emerging stories include Honiton’s long and fascinating Romany Gypsy heritage that goes back many generations.

As well as the experience of African American soldiers stationed up at the Dunkeswell airbase, just outside Honiton during the Second World War. The American army at the time was segregated along racial lines. White GIs and the ‘coloured troops’ as they were known, lived and ate separately, and even drank in different pubs.

The Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots project began in June 2023 and will take 18 months to complete, finishing at the end of 2024. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It continues two previous Telling Our Stories projects in Exeter, Tiverton, Bideford and Okehampton.

For further information and for those interested in volunteering please contact Hilda Kalap, Project Coordinator,

Tel: 07983216793


Notes to Editors:


The project is run by Devon Development Education a global education charity (reg 1102233), based at The Global Centre, 17 St David’s Hill, Exeter, EX4 3RG, with over 20 years’ experience of providing expertise to schools and communities in Devon.

We develop and run projects with groups throughout the county. We aim to provide a ‘window on the world’, to enable children and adults to understand links between their own lives and those of others worldwide; and to develop skills, attitudes and values which enable people to work together to bring about change to create a just and sustainable world.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund was set up in 1994 to fund projects of all sizes that connect people and communities to the UK’s heritage.  In that time it has invested £8.8 billion in heritage and supported 51,000 heritage projects.