Sponsored by Hexology, Producer Gilly Smith teamed up with Radio Reverb to make a Radio Documentary for Syrian Refugees; with the aim of using hexology to post the radio program into the Refugee camps in Calais. Winner of a Silver Award in the Speech and Journalism category at the Community Radio Awards.
Thousands of refugees were fleeing war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we were wondering what hexology can do to help.
If we can put digital media into objects and places, why not drop a radio documentary into the refugee camps at Calais, to feed the hearts, minds and souls of the people in exile!
So we decided to take to the airwaves and team up with RadioReverb, Brighton’s fabulous community radio station, to record stories of Brighton’s Syrian community.
The program will be called Jaibli Salaam, an Arabic welcome salutation, and through the magic of food and song, the radio documentary will take refugees and migrants back in time to their Syria.
Refugees looking for a little warmth can at least feel the love – and practise their English as they go back to their childhood – holdng hands over the airwaves with our own Syrian community in Brighton. And so, like a Bisto kid, Producer Gilly Smith followed the smell of cumin and cardamom to find out what the Syrian community in Brighton calls home.
Over five weeks, migrants and refugees, the old and new met over food to tell stories that create a home from home – and we listened to their memories and their music as they fed us their fattoush and homemade hummus. The plan: to write their stories into a QR code on The School Bus Project, a double decker yellow bus which will tour the camps of Europe, offering hope, shelter, language lessons and the learning for life in pop-up classrooms.
But the ripples of radio reach wider than we thought, and as friendships were made, new opportunities popped up. A fundraising dinner followed the final programme, a Levantine feast for all the Syrian subjects of Jaibli Salaam and the many locals who wanted to meet their new neighbours. Introductions followed the chat, contacts were swapped and ideas encouraged as plans for more themed Sunday lunch fundraisers.
The veils over the words ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ had fallen to reveal real people with real stories, and inspired by hexology, the refugees in Calais had found their way home.