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INDIA: Radio Salesian chosen to participate in broadcast project sponsored by UNICEF to raise awareness about COVID-19


(MissionNewswire) Radio Salesian, based out of Salesian College Sonada in Darjeeling, India, has been selected by India’s Community Radio Association as a partner to raise awareness about COVID-19 through a national project. The project is sponsored by UNICEF, which has been reaching out to public service broadcasters globally through community radio stations.

Each community broadcast partner is allowed to tailor the topics according to local requirements on COVID-19 prevention. Titled “Mission Corona,” the five-month initiative will feature a 25-minute weekly program in the Nepali language that will focus on issues related to the usage of masks, home quarantine, physical distancing, building the immune system and elderly care, among other relevant topics. Radio Salesian programming will also look at nutrition and hygiene aspects, as well as a poster campaign through social media.

“During this unprecedented public health emergency, as a community radio station, we can inform and educate people on the impending danger of the pandemic through ‘Mission Corona,’” said Father C.M. Paul, the radio station director.

With coverage of over 15 kilometers, the radio station is heard across tea plantations around the college. Listeners are mostly based in Kurseong, Sonada, Balasun Valley, and the border towns of Nepal like Pashupati, Illam, Kakrabitta and Birtamore. Five local radio journalists are part of the production team for the project, which is led at Radio Salesian by program coordinator R.J. Samir.

“Besides the scheduled COVID-19 programs, from July 1, we are hosting four hours of a live show to reach out to local people in real-time and educate them on scientific viewpoints on myths about diseases, and also create awareness on preventive measures,” said Samir.

Radio Salesian 90.8 FM was established in 2016 and is the only college campus radio of North Bengal and northeast India. There are 64 colleges affiliated with the University of North Bengal offering 169 courses in 11 streams with some 30 faculty departments and 20 specializations. The station is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on web radio worldwide through the Listen2MyRadio app. It is the only Nepali language broadcasting community radio in India.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

Salesian missionaries living and working in India place special emphasis on rescuing and rehabilitating children engaged in child labor. There are Salesian-run programs throughout the country that have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable youth through the years, and this work continues today.


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