Here’s how a Prague radio station is helping Ukrainian refugees

As neighboring countries have opened their arms to Ukrainians fleeing the horrors of war, there is a new radio channel broadcasting news, music, fairy tales to lift children’s spirits

A Polish soldier holds a baby as refugees fleeing war in Ukraine arrive at the border in Medyka, Poland. PA

As neighboring countries have opened their arms to Ukrainians fleeing the horrors of war, there is a new radio channel broadcasting news, music, fairy tales to lift children’s spirits.

According to the latest figures from the United Nations, the month of war led to the displacement of more than half of Ukrainian children.

Nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s population – more than 10 million people – have been driven from their homes. Some 3.7 million refugees have been forced to flee the country, making it the fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II, UNHCR said.

Read also: A month of Russian-Ukrainian war: lives turned upside down, destruction everywhere and hopes shattered

In such dire circumstances, what is this radio station broadcasting soothing sounds to Ukrainians, let’s take a look:

Radio Ukraine

This week, a new radio station in the capital of Prague in the Czech Republic started broadcasting news, advice for refugees, music and fairy tales for children, and spiritual comfort from churches. Ukrainians.

Radio Ukrajina, as it is called, broadcasts in Ukrainian to be understandable to those arriving in the city from this war-torn country.

Run by the Media Bohemia group of several radio stations, it broadcasts from an office building in central Prague via a mobile app and the internet.

“It’s solidarity radio,” said broadcast manager Natalia Churikova, who spent 27 years working for Prague-based, US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“We are targeting Ukrainian war refugees who have moved here and trying to give them the information they need to start a new life here before they can return home, which we hope will eventually happen,” said she declared. AFP.

The Czech Republic has taken in more than 300,000 refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Radio airwaves manager Churikova said Radio Ukrajina’s main goal was to help refugees feel more at home in the foreign country.

“The Czechs help a lot, but when… someone speaks to you in Ukrainian and plays you a Ukrainian song, it will warm your heart,” she said.

Churikova said she sees the radio, which launched on Tuesday, as a medium that takes listeners by the hand and accompanies them throughout the day.

“No other medium will create this mood, encourage you, make you think and entertain you at the same time,” she said outside the small studio with tables for two presenters and a Ukrainian flag at the Wall.

“The vibe is really nice here, and we try to pass that on to people who have been through terrible things and now need to calm down and start a new life.”

Not only the radio to boost the morale of Ukrainians

Since the refugees began to arrive, Czech public television broadcasts its evening news in the Ukrainian version, while Czech radio broadcasts Ukrainian public radio broadcasts live.

Earlier this month reports surfaced of a “cellar violinist” who is said to be playing a soft tune to boost the morale of those hiding in bunkers in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Musician, Vera Lytovchenko, has become an internet icon of resilience as images of the concert violinist performing in the basement bomb shelter inspired international audiences via social media.

In another such incident, the Ukrainian Navy Orchestra performed “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in front of the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater.

In a video shared on Twitter, five members of the band can be seen performing the 80s hit by American singer Bobby McFerrin.

A non-profit group The Dream Doctors Project is responsible for bringing smiles back to refugees arriving in Moldova.

Dressed up as clowns, members of The Dream Doctors Project pull pranks and act like clowns to make people smile and release some of the stress they’ve carried away with their baggage.

With contributions from agencies

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Berta D. Wells