TWR Nepal leader Simon Subba and members of his staff visited hard-hit areas in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes.
The theme of World Radio Day 2016, “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster,” has special resonance at TWR.
As the annual UNESCO-established observance rolls around on Saturday, Feb. 13, TWR staff and supporters are looking back on several crises in recent years during which the ministry lent a helping hand. Although TWR’s primary mission is to assist the Church in carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth, the ministry eagerly seeks to harness its main resource – a multilingual worldwide broadcasting network – to help the people most affected when natural and man-made disasters strike.
“Radio still remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, in the quickest possible time,” a UNESCO World Radio Day news release stated.
That’s a sentiment frequently echoed by leaders of the 62-year-old ministry. Although TWR has expanded aggressively into technologies such as the Internet, video and mobile phones, radio continues to be an indispensable medium for breaking through geographic and political barriers with messages of hope and salvation.
Special projects undertaken in response to national crises in recent years have included the following:
- Ukraine – A listener of Reconciliation for Ukraine, a radio program created amid the turmoil of the country’s conflict with neighboring Russia, wrote, “that you so much that you talk about events in our country and about how we should react to them – how to act, how not to fall into despair. This is so important for us.”
- Nepal – After two massive earthquakes rocked this mountain kingdom, TWR Nepal rushed to develop programming in cooperation with an international relief ministry to reach survivors and address the trauma they experienced. TWR Nepal’s staff also joined government and nongovernment organizations in distributing basic supplies to ravaged villages.
- Serbia – When floods swept portions of this country and its neighbors, TWR national partner IKONOS replaced some its regular programming with special broadcasts to the survivors. “These programs are crisis-oriented but with a spiritual emphasis included,” the IKONOs director said.
- West Africa – A program called Alert Ebola was developed by TWR West Africa and at least one national partner to educate listeners as the deadly disease besieged Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
UNESCO describes the annual observance as “a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.”