Cape Town – This Youth Month, award-winning RX Radio, run by and for children and based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, are appealing to the public for help to keep the groundbreaking initiative going.
RX Radio celebrate their fifth birthday this year, with a studio based at Red Cross Hospital and their broadcast feed reaching the paediatric wards at Brooklyn Chest and Paarl Hospital.
With a vision of reaching every hospital with a paediatric ward in South Africa, RX Radio has trained over 135 young reporters from ages 4 and up.
A team of five staff, one intern, one mentor, volunteers and former reporters work behind the scenes to train, co-ordinate, and support the reporters – but the children are always behind the microphones and are active participants in the production; they design their own shows, choose the music, invite guests, write interviews, questions, and even plan fundraising events.
RX Radio founder, Dr Gabriel Urgoiti said: “Children make up 34% of people in South Africa; you see them everywhere, but at the same time you don't see them, children are quite invisible. What RX radio continues trying to do is provide a platform where children can be heard and children can be engaged on things that are important to them. We provide them with an opportunity to talk, and working at hospitals has helped children with chronic conditions tell their stories and improve healthcare delivery.”
Radio presenter Athule Ngqentsu said the station had been a major confidence booster for her.
“RX radio helped me a lot. It's actually a confidence booster because now I feel free to talk to anyone about myself. I'm not shy anymore.”
Talitha Counter, 18, added that she was inspired to pursue a career in radio.
“RX radio means a lot to me, it allowed me to open up about my condition and possibly help other children feel motivated. I am thinking of studying media to lead me to being a radio presenter one day because of RX Radio,” she said.
Station manager Noluyolo Ngomani said fundraising had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and so they were calling on donors to help with the important work they are doing.
“The work we do is critical and we appreciate everyone who continues to support us. Over the past two years, however, it has been tough, I’m glad we have managed to sustain ourselves. However, we really need financial assistance. To donors out there, please accept our proposals. We need all the help we can get.”
The station is also shining a spotlight on the mental health of young people for Youth Month.
For information on how you can donate and support the activities of RX Radio, email: [email protected]
*This story has been updated