Refugee Families: The Heart of Our Broadcast
What would you do if war and persecution forced you to leave behind your homeland and the only life you had ever known? Welcomed into a new country of safety, how would you cope with navigating in an unfamiliar language, law, and culture? Where would you turn for information on accessing resources, medical care, employment, and other necessities to start your life over?
This was the situation of thousands of Somali refugees and asylees in Atlanta prior to the launch of Sagal Radio in 1998. This unique community needed a voice to offer help and guidance in their transition to a new home. Our radio program was designed from the start to reach these families in need, to offer them the knowledge and skills to become active and contributing members of their new American community. The needs of low-income refugee families for cultural and practical information remains at the heart of the expanded broadcast of Sagal Radio services.
An Evergrowing, Everychanging Community
The changing and diversifying face of metro-Atlanta----and indeed the whole of the United States---constantly pushes Sagal Radio to expand its boundaries and commitments. Our efforts to provide language-specific information to the East African community has continued with the addition of new languages and content, and we have expanded to other foreign-born communities.
War and oppression continue to affect the world and produce new refugees every year. In 2003, the metro-Atlanta community was reminded of this fact with the arrival of the Somali Bantu, the largest single resettlement of an African refugee community in US history. Sagal Radio was already in a position to help this population; we soon added a broadcast in their native language of MaiMai aimed at providing crucial safety and health information. Sagal Radio has recently added Bhutanese/Nepali and Karen (Burmese) languages to our broadcasting to help the incoming individuals from different areas overseas.
While the needs of newly arrived refugees loom large in our mission, it is also important to recognize that today's burgeoning African community is also a story of successful enterprise and development. Indeed, many of today's listeners may have arrived as immigrants---workers, students, visitors---rather than refugees. Moreover, many families who arrived years ago as refugees have gone on to great success. Many listeners have become successful business owners, medical professionals, public servants, educators, and other professions of note. Sagal Radio is able to reach out to all of these individuals, offering them a continued link to their heritage and language and connecting them to their community members in need.
Nor does the story of our listeners end there. As time goes on, more and more members of the Sagal Radio Services community show their commitment to their new home as they become officially naturalized citizens of the United States of America. We strive to serve the needs of these listeners as well with broadcasts about the rights and responsibilities of citizens and voters. In this way, we truly feel that Sagal Radio fulfills its mission of representing "the voice of new Americans."