New voices to hear

DANIELLE STREET
Last updated 08:15 08/08/2012
Radio Ryan
JASON OXENHAM
ROCKING THE RADIO: Nuredin Hassan, left, and Abann Yor get Radio Ryan off the ground.

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A new generation of Aucklanders is hitting the airwaves.

Every Saturday young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds discuss issues that face them in New Zealand and around the globe.

Radio Ryan is the brainchild of the Refugee Youth Action Network (RYAN) based in Mt Roskill. RYAN is organised by Refugees as Survivors and two other refugee-led groups.

A core team of five people from the network produce the live radio show, which is broadcast from Mt Albert's Planet 104.6FM.

The show is also streamed over the internet and available for podcasting from Planet FM's website.

Youth facilitator Abann Yor says the network's goal is to support young people from refugee backgrounds "to improve their achievement in education and employment".

"This in turn prevents them from becoming involved in drugs, gangs and alcohol abuse," Mr Yor says.

The centre attracts young people from a wide variety of ethnicities including Ethiopians, Somalians, Sudanese, Iraqis and Afghans.

The two-year-old centre offers many sporting programmes but until now there have been few options for the artistically inclined, co-ordinator Nuredin Hassan says. Mr Hassan is a former refugee from Ethiopia and was brought into the Radio Ryan project because of his background in broadcasting and youth work.

"For the people who are bloggers, writers and DJs it's an opportunity for them to be involved," he says. "People who are in the arts have gravitated towards this project."

One of those drawn to the activity is communications student Makanaka Tuwe, a migrant from Zimbabwe who hopes to develop a career in journalism.

She says the show allows the team to present stories it feels have been missed in mainstream media, while adding its own perspective.

Ms Tuwe says the show is empowering but its launch was a bit nerve-racking for the whole team.

"Our first five minutes was a bit shaky but after that we all relaxed," she says.

"It was so good seeing it all come together I felt like crying. We were all hugging and hi-fiving each other after the show."

Mr Hassan says none of the team has any background in radio, so in the month leading up to the show's soft-launch he ran workshops teaching the new broadcasters technical skills.

Planet FM broadcast manager Terry Byrne says young refugees often carry a considerable amount of burden when moving to a new country.

"They are often the ones that learn the language first, so if someone comes to the door to speak to their parents they will be the ones put forward to communicate."

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Ms Byrne says the radio show provides the opportunity for the group to have its own voice.

"Of course this will be different from the voice of their parents, and from youth that were bought up in New Zealand. It's the voice of a new generation."

Radio Ryan is on every Saturday from 4.40pm to 5.50pm.

Visit planetaudio.org.fm for more information.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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