SPECIAL PROJECTS: USA and South Africa cross cultural exchange | Children's Radio Foundation

We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives

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The Optimistic Youth Reporters from Centre of Science and Technology (COSAT) in Khayelitsha have been part of an exciting audio exchange with a group of young people called Dreamsquad in the Bronx in New York City. The youth finally met up in a live video link earlier this month after several weeks of exchanging recordings about issues in their communities.

Dreamsquad is a group of young people who participate in after school art programmes at the organisation DreamYard, which is based in the Bronx, in New York, USA. DreamYard is one of the largest arts providers in the Bronx and a nationally recognized community arts organization that uses the arts, digital tools, and social justice to transform students, schools, and communities.

Dreamsquad were trained in foundational radio techniques by CRF’s Linda Daniels ahead of the exchange. Both groups of young people underwent a community mapping exercise where they identified major themes that were important and relevant to them and their communities. These issues between the groups are almost identical. Issues such as gender stereotypes, male privilege, violence and peer pressure. The young people selected from the list of themes a topic and angle and then regularly produced 15 minutes broadcasts leaning heavily towards the local context. In addition the young people also recorded individual audio letters to each other at the beginning of the seven week exchange, where they introduced each other and spoke of their expectations of their exchange.

This exchange between youth from COSAT and the Dreamsquad developed over a seven week period, and culminated in a virtual meeting on Saturday 3 June 2017!

Hlumelo from COSAT said about the exchange: “The exchange for me was quite exciting and got me a bit nervous. I got nervous when we had to do the recording but quite excited when I listened to Dream Squad. I learnt that America also has issues as much as South Africa has. I learnt ways of dealing with certain situations such as bullying and having my confidence level relying on brands. I enjoyed it”.

Thimna Alam said: “…the social and political issues they are facing are so different to ours as I never suspected.”

This project has been a successful connection across continents between young people, and we’d like to appreciate all the youth involved, as well as Tim Lord, Co-Executive Director at DreamYard.

If you’d like to listen to some of the shows and audio exchanges, you can find them on Soundcloud here.

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