The demise of radio has long been predicted, but Buggles were wrong: video did not kill the radio star. Neither did the internet. In fact, if anything, the internet has proven to be the greatest distributor radio never saw coming. If you are in any doubt about the health of radio globally, spend the afternoon browsing Radio Garden.
But radio’s power goes beyond esoteric public broadcasting and obscure German techno stations. For the children and families War Child serves, radio can be a lifeline.
Take the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Violent conflict in the DRC has claimed over 5 million lives. Rape is systematically used as a weapon of war. Communities – particularly those in rural areas are living with virtually no infrastructure left intact. Education for children – particularly girls – is virtually impossible. 7.5 million children in the DRC are currently out of school. 4 million of those are girls. Keeping girls in school past the primary level is particularly difficult. Forced marriage, child labor, poverty and the threat of sexual violence means that 71% of girls are not enrolled in secondary school and over 50% of women are illiterate.
But there is hope. Marie is a prime example.
Marie is bright and motivated girl, living in Uvira in the East of the country. Without a secondary school near her home and facing the threat of sexual violence if she tried to travel to the next village, Marie was forced to drop out of school. It seemed that her education was over.
Radio changed all that.
Confronting the gaping education deficit facing girls like Marie, War Child began a distance learning program, harnessing the power of radio. By broadcasting interactive lessons into safe spaces within Marie’s community, she can catch up with the lessons she missed. The broadcasts are made specifically to target out-of-school girls and are presented by community members at local donated spaces. Radio is allowing girls to retake control of their lives.
Today, Marie is completing her studies at one of War Child’s ten safe spaces. She is once again hopeful about her future.
“Before I could not understand what education through the radio would look like! But now I appreciate it so much. I get a good education that will help me get a job. From there my life will change.”
This World Radio Day help us celebrate this extraordinary medium by making a donation. Together we will inspire students to fashion the future they deserve.