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Friday, 26 April 2019 07:35 am

Refugees can have their voices heard on Wellington Access Radio

Across the Top

Access Radio’s station manager Kristen Paterson IMAGE: Emma Moody


KRISTEN Paterson wants refugees and other minority communities to hear their own voices in Wellington.

As Wellington Access Radio manager, Ms Paterson says it is important to give minorities the chance to empower themselves and their communities.

“I read a quote once, by an African-American boy, which said ‘If you don’t see or hear yourself represented, you start to think you’re a monster’,” she says.

One of the examples she uses to give minorities the chance to use their voice is a relationship with ChangeMakers Refugee Forum.

Access Radio is working with ChangeMakers to give a voice to the “underrepresented communities” in Wellington.

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum is a rights-based, non-government organisation which represents more than 14 refugee-background communities in the capital.

Access Radio is only partly funded by New Zealand on Air, which means people pay for their time on air, making it difficult for refugees to get their voices heard.

The station’s additional funding comes from the Settling In grant, which is designed to support the successful settlement of refugees and migrants such as the new group of Syrians who will be arriving.

“The shows we have are by, for and about the different communities in Wellington and give them a chance to give their communities a voice,” Ms Paterson says.

Ms Paterson says one of her favourite stories is a girl named Crystal getting to tell the story of her family.

“She got to tell her story, of her family and about her grandmother, and then she got to share it with her family and her community,” she says.

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