A fundraising drive in Ross-shire is helping a project in a Caribbean country once exploited by Highland plantation owners.
Cromarty-based historian David Alston has been researching the role of Highland landowners and merchants in slave-run plantations in the West Indies and in Guyana and Surinam.
Cromarty families the Barklys and the Davidsons of Tulloch were among plantation owners in the early 19th century and their legacy is still evident in the Guyana villages of Cromarty and Nigg which Mr Alston visited in February.
Following a talk given by Mr Alston to the Cromarty Peace Group it was agreed that some reparation should be made for the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants.
The group is now raising money for a project to help children in the town of New Amsterdam, a few miles from Cromarty and Nigg,
All Saints Presbyterian (Scots) Church in New Amsterdam is 200 years old this year. It runs a centre called Little Angels which provides child care, a development centre which provides training for young people, and also works with the local prison.
A project costing £5,000-£6,000 will refurbish a kitchen to provide free lunches for more than 50 children in the local primary school.
Cromarty Peace Group is liaising with All Saints minister Rev Selby Ross and has launched a crowdfunding appeal to support the project, with more than £2,400 already pledged.
David Alston said: “I visited All Saints Presbyterian Church in February with my colleague, Michael Hopcroft, and we were received with great warmth and hospitality. We were their only link with Scotland in this the year of their 200th Anniversary.
“With this fund-raising we can help them to help their own community – and create a positive link for the future with this part of Scotland.”
This week research by two academics revealed the extent of historical connection between land ownership in the Highlands and Islands region and plantation slavery in the Caribbean and North Africa.
The study showed more than 60 estates, amounting to almost 1.2 million acres and covering 33.5% of the west Highlands and Islands, were acquired using the equivalent of more than £120m by beneficiaries of “slavery derived wealth”.
The independent study Plantation Slavery and Landownership in the west Highlands and Islands: Legacies and Lessons was published by Community Land Scotland which represents community landowners and it is hoped will encourage debate on Scotland’s slavery links.