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Refugee radio show sharing inspiring stories

1 February 20180 comments

Syrian twin sisters Maya and Sarah Ghassali have launched a radio program aimed at giving refugees the opportunity to tell their stories to the broader community.

The ‘Refugees on Air’ radio podcast on community-based SYN Media regularly posts stories and interviews about refugees.

And it is giving the sisters valuable experience in media producing and programming.

“We did some work experience with SYN and we loved it”, the 16-year-olds said.

Their time at the community radio station gave the sisters the idea for ‘Refugees on Air’

“We wanted to do a podcast that aims to shine light on inspiring refugee stories. We think it’s important that refugees can tell their stories and have a voice,” the sisters said.

“The people at SYN helped us put a plan together and two weeks later I started volunteering at SYN,” Maya said.

“They helped us and they thought it was a good idea,” she said.

Sarah said that the radio show also stemmed from a program called ACCESS run by Monash University which came to her school. The program sees Monash students mentor VCE students.

Through the program Sarah met Iraqi refugee and medical student Neba Massad Alfayadh, who agreed to be their first interview subject.

“We were very excited about it last year and we had booked the studio and everything. Then Neba had to cancel because of something urgent at her work, she’s a nurse. But we rescheduled to the next week and did the interview, it went so smoothly!” Maya said.

Since then the sisters have done five interviews with refugees, including with Somali author and refugee Abdi Aden and actor and Vietnamese refugee Tony-Le Nguyen, who appeared in Romper Stomper.

“We want to keep producing more episodes of the show and now we’ve put it on iTunes,” Maya said.

Maya said she plans to make short film about the show and hopes to go into the film industry.

The sisters, who were born in Australia, at a time when their father was studying here, came back to the country at the ages of ten in 2012 just as civil war began to sweep their country.

“We lived in Aleppo and we left just as the war started. Our parents came as migrants and we were very lucky. We had many friends here, but unfortunately no family” they said.

The sisters are very keen to hear from any refugees willing to share their stories for the podcast. You can contact them via their Facebook page:

Here is the link to the ‘Refugees on Air iTunes’ page:

Their Facebook page link:

Twitter page:

Instagram page:


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist