Senior Fellow Nefeli Myrodia was greatly impacted by the lessons she learned volunteering with the refugee community and conducting interviews with those who have experienced displacement. One thing she heard constantly from refugees was that they feel disconnected from local communities and that there is a lack of activities during their stay inside the camps. This inspired her to create Radio Transit, a tool for free expression that connects refugees inside camps and hosting facilities with the rest of the world.
According to her research, communication is one of the biggest challenges in refugee camps. Aside for the obvious need of emergency supplies to meet basic necessities, refugees expressed their wish to her to be heard by Europe and its citizens. The language barrier remains a serious obstacle between both sides.
The majority of asylum seekers in camps within Europe are Arabic speakers and often cannot communicate without the aid of a translator. Radio Transit used high tech language processing to eliminate language barriers and create a dialogue between the two sides. In addition, Radio Transit created a physical experience inside the camps, to illustrate for Europeans what refugees see and experience daily, through the creation of the Radio Transit Bike, in a traditionally entertaining way via the radio.
Radio Transit strives to raise awareness, promote integration, solidarity and bridge the gap between refugees and European citizens in a fun and entertaining way.
This is how it worked: the Radio Transit bike, with the necessary equipment (trailer with wireless internet, tablet,and speakers) visited camps and recorded the refugees’ experiences in their mother language. The message is then uploaded to the Radio Transit platform.
This Action Project is a powerful tool for free expression for refugees who feel isolated from the rest of the world.
Through speech to text recognition the message is auto-translated in English and other European languages and is published on the website, streaming channels and social media, in both textual and audio form. Online users can access these messages through a map presentation where messages are categorized by location. At the same time, the refugee can receive feedback and comments from the audience.
Inside the camp Radio Transit designed side events such as repair cafes for mobile phones and other electronic devices and Music Sharing Meetups. Every stop in a camp produced a radio show with refugees’s messages and music they would like to share with the audience.