September 2005, Radio Salam
In 2001, three organizations – UNICEF, Internews Network and ‘For Tolerance International’ NGO brought the life into a youth radio in the Batken Oblast. They provided equipment and supported trainings for the staff and young people who volunteered to help with collecting information and drafting radio programmes.
Since then, every day young volunteers from 6 to 18 years old overcrowd a big room – some write scenarios of radio programmes, others rehearse the text; some are at the table, others are on the floor. Covering just one rayon, the Radio has become famous all over the republic and above it.
This year, UNICEF supported the purchase of a new antenna to increase number of listeners by 10 times. Now young voices fill every corner of the quiet Batken Oblast and echo in the vicinity in villages of the neighboring countries uniting about 400,000 people into a big radio family. The mail box is swelled by letters, requests and stories. Children wait for answers on their questions about relations between boys and girls, health and school problems. Parents hungrily catch tips for better understanding their kids.
UNICEF has supported the radio for four years and now it is to be self supported. It is a big challenge, but young people do not lose their heart. Youngsters learn from those who are more experienced, read books and search the Internet. Scarce revenues from rear advertisements – helping a farmer to find a cow or sell a sack of potatoes – are just enough to pay state taxes. Respect and love of the community is the remuneration for the enthusiastic young team.