“Artistic expression has no age limit and it’s above origin”

Stella Delliou

Christos Kiousis, journalist

We’re at the Revolver Recording studio. Omar, 24 years old from Algeria, stands in front of a microphone and narrates his story. Next to him is the journalist and his teacher Christos Kiousis, who guides him. In a moment he will start recording his podcast and we all have to be quiet.

Music, words and thoughts, ideas, opinions, feelings, this is the magic of podcasts. Radio is one of the most significant mediums of communication. Adult and teenage refugees who attended the seminars organized by SolidarityNow within the framework of the innovative program “Resilient Roots”* have been introduced to radio lessons. In particular, 60 young SolidarityNow beneficiaries from Athens and Thessaloniki attended creative photography and radio seminars to learn how to express their ideas and give feedback regarding the services provided by the organization. The journalist and radio producer Christos Kiousis volunteered to teach the participants in Thessaloniki how to create their own podcast. To have quality in life, besides ensuring your survival, you need to be able to express yourself freely. “Whatever they do to express themselves, this will help them calm their soul and mind”, Christos tells us.

“As strange and unprecedented as it seemed to the children to create their own podcast, by letting them into the magical world of sound and radio, it is as well strange and unprecedented for me to collaborate with people who have gone through a lot,” notes Christos. It was his first contact with refugees and migrants, but also with people working in the humanitarian field. “To be honest, from a sociological perspective you are another very interesting case of people” he adds.

At the beginning, as Christos confesses us, he was anxious because he was not familiar with our activities, but also because it was the first time for him to teach refugees and migrants. But his initial embarrassment was immediately overcome thanks to the people of the organization and his students. “By seeing the smiley faces of the people, I felt relaxed. At the end of the lesson when the children thanked me and expressed their willingness to come again to the lesson, I felt that I was useful for them”, he underlines.

The time has passed, and all the participants have completed their recordings. Dimitris Karavasilis, who is the owner of the studio and a personal friend of Christos, offered his space for free; he will now edit the students’ podcasts. “What is happening here today is very important; people who have never had the opportunity before, are learning how to make radio podcasts”, Vasilis stresses. “Artistic expression combined with technical means, like radio, photography or something else, has no age limit and since it has no age limit, it’s above origin as well”, adds Christos.

 

* Since July 2018, SolidarityNow has been implementing the pilot project “The Resilient Roots Initiative”. The program, co-ordinated by the CIVICUS network in partnership with Keystone Accountability & Accountable Now, aims to improve communication and interaction channels between SolidarityNow management and its beneficiaries. About 60 young people beneficiaries of the organization, from Athens and Thessaloniki, are involved in several activities.