Radio will play an important part in resettling Syrian refugees

Twelve thousand Syrian refugees will come to Australia by Christmas, according to a government announcement last week. 

Those refugees will be given shelter, support and a few necessities of life, including a radio

The first language in Syria is Arabic.
What will they listen to on the radio that will help them settle into their new country?
SBS Radio has been a lifeline for many non-English speaking migrants in its 40 years of existence and this latest batch of refugees will receive similar support from the network. An SBS spokesperson has told radioinfo:

All SBS Radio’s programs, in particular those whose communities are from new and emerging migrant groups, are focused on providing key news and information to their audiences, in the language they are most comfortable with.
Our focus is to help audiences connect with their communities in Australia as well as provide them with information about accessing services or resources that will help them settle into life in Australia, ranging from Australian news to explaining social customs and laws or to how to best access medical care.
We also celebrate their culture and share their successes through the wider Australian community through our English language programs across TV, radio, online and social.
SBS Radio’s Arabic and Kurdish programs have been closely following the current crisis in Syria due to the relevance of the crisis for their respective communities. Both programs also have broadcasters from Syrian backgrounds, and are particularly well equipped to ensure that the expected 12,000 refugees will be able to access essential information and services with the help of SBS Radio.
It is through this content focus that SBS is able to contribute to social cohesion and Australia’s success as a multicultural nation for over 40 years.

Community Radio will also play an important role in assisting the latest group of new Australians.
A range of programs across the country on community stations such as 3ZZZ Melbourne, 6EBA Perth, 4EB Brisbane and 2000FM Sydney, speak to migrants in their own languages. Others, such as Muslim Community radio in Sydney will support the migrants through faith based programming.
As well as providing information for the Syrian community, those stations will also give the latest group of arrivals the possibility of getting their own voice on the radio. Community stations are committed to empowering people by giving them airtime, and some from this latest group  will likely find their way to their local community radio station to make programs.

Radio Adelaide is one community station which has reached out to new arrivals over the years, giving them training and support to begin programs for their own community.

Work hard and give something back to Australia… 

A small station in Sydney’s Western Suburbs, WOW FM is also well known for its support of new arrivals. When large numbers of South Sudanese refugees were resettled around Blacktown and St Marys a few years ago, the station made space in its schedule for a South Sudanese program and recruited refugees from the community to host it.
One of the founders of Wow FM, Bill Gayed and his wife Mary, have hosted a range of programs on the station since its beginning.
Gayed, an Arabic speaking medical doctor of Egyptian background, has seen many traumatized refugees over the years and says radio can help them through the first turbulent months in their new country:
“People are lost and confused when they are forced to flee their homes, so it is not surprising that they need support. One of the things that the radio can do for them is to be a friendly welcoming voice. It can also make them happy by playing them music that they know and love – music really helps people to be calm.”
What advice does Gayed offer to new arrivals?
“I tell them, once you are settled, work hard and give something back to Australia. Be an achiever and repay the generosity of Australians who have helped you. Don’t be a bludger, make your own way and be involved in the community in whatever way you can be.”

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