Time of voices for the peace: Shareradio launches a programme to support Ukraine
In a series of interviews we portray our Culture of Solidarity Fund grantees. The grantee featured here successfully applied to round 6: Culture of Solidarity Ukraine edition.
Demonstrations swept across Europe against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Radio editor Nicola Mogno with youngsters went out on one of the manifestations in the center of Milan, Italy. The children went with a mp3 and recorded a lot of messages. They collected voices for peace to broadcast on Shareradio waves and Radio Popolare, a historical FM Milan radio.
On its air, Nicola and his 12-year-old daughter conducted a programme to fight the lockdown challenges. Now it’s time to overcome another one. The war in Ukraine shook Europe. Thousands of Ukrainians have rushed to search for temporary shelter, but even safe places bring them new difficulties. Isolation is one of them. So, supported by the European Cultural Foundation’s Culture of Solidarity Fund, Shareradio is creating an initiative for communication with Ukrainian child refugees.
A short history of Shareradio broadcasting
Shareradio is Milan’s web radio promoting social cohesion via dialogue already for 12 years. Through a network of various shows, it struggles with the alienation of vulnerable society members and fosters a culture of mental health and personal protagonism. Those goals had broadcast Melaradio, launched by Nicola and his daughter Eleonora. Children, parents, and teachers exchanged messages, music, and poetry to reduce quarantine distance. The show was successful, and Eleonora started her one to communicate with new classmates. Since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, Shareradio journalists suggested this practice could be helpful for refugees too. Because the principle of solidarity stays at the basis of the Shareradio experience.
Project puzzle in progress
The idea is to start from one word. This word will be the start for talking on holidays, at school, with parents. It is significant to choose phrases to work on with children and tell the stories, poems, and music. One word can inspire, says Nikola.
The programme team started with the communication with stakeholders of the project. They have already met representatives from a school in Gallaratese, the North area of Milan. It’s citizens already work with their neighbors, who host many children from Ukraine. They start going to lessons, so the broadcast programme could be an instrument to involve them in the social life in school and outside of it.
Shareradio members met with a public organization that works in mental health, Centro Psiche Donna from Macedonio Melloni Hospital, to cooperate with a psychologist to advise approaches to communication with refugees and how not to make mistakes, talking about the big and challenging topic of war. Nicola also invited a Ukrainian woman as a cultural mediator with knowledge of two necessary languages to help to understand better what is going on with the Ukrainian youngsters and what feelings they are experiencing. The next step will be presenting the project directly to the children and their mothers who arrived from Ukraine and started Italian courses.
Therefore, not just Ukrainians may join it, but also Milanese pupils and anyone who wants to team up with the community, regardless of their location. The children will manage the radio show on their own. Furthermore, youngsters will be able to send messages to WhatsApp and listen to the programme on the Shareradio website or on the app once a week.
Radio like an instrument to bring the peace
Speaking about the support of Ukraine in the world, Nicola says: “If people give their time and energies to the solidarity process all over life, we’ll live better. So this troubling moment could be an opportunity to involve new people working together, hosting, and helping people. So I hope we can now reinforce it by our programme and make it the usual way of being in society.”
Nicola plans to focus broadcast themes on hope messages and ideas of peace as a way of living together. There is a strong network in Milan working on sending material to Ukraine, and there are a lot of youngsters working on it: making boxes and loading the vans. So, Nicola thinks it would be interesting to interview them about why they started this voluntary work because it isn’t common to see many people spending their time and energy on the refugees.
The radio also will be a tool for monitoring the situation with Ukrainian refugees in Italy. Through the children’s reflections, the municipality will better understand their needs and be able to help more effectively.
Children will share stories about their interests and life in Italy and exchange cultural experiences during the programme. In addition, they will learn a new language and experiment with its sound. Such communication will help them express themselves, stay in a relationship with other people and reinforce or maintain the connections they risked leaving.