Radio pioneers voice hopes

Radio pioneers voice hopes

Sixteen teenagers get ready to speak and act on Unicef's Voices of Youth

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Mentor Dennis Wong of City University (right) has helped  the hosts of Voices for Youth with research.  The young hosts include (from left) Joanne Lai, Heidi Woo and Alison Lam.
Mentor Dennis Wong of City University (right) has helped the hosts of Voices for Youth with research. The young hosts include (from left) Joanne Lai, Heidi Woo and Alison Lam.
Photos: David Wong
Best described as 'by teens, for teens', Voices of Youth will be launched by Unicef Hong Kong in September. Sixteen young pioneers have been selected to host the programme.

It is the first radio show in Hong Kong to be run and hosted by teenagers under 18.

'To explore, to speak, to take action - that's our motto, and we want to prove to Hong Kong that young people's opinions [do matter],' says Alison Lam Ming-yin, a Year 11 student at German Swiss International School.

The programme, which features three 30-minute shows - on poverty, drug abuse, climate change and ethnic minorities - aims to raise awareness of these topics and offer advice to teens who might have related issues.

The show is adapted from the radio programme founded eight years ago by Unicef Nepal as a platform for teenagers to voice their views.

Heidi Woo Wing-man, a Form Five student at Heep Yunn School, was inspired by what she saw when she visited the Nepal radio station last year.

'The show is living proof of how young people can have the power to change the perceptions of those who live around them, with an audience spanning all generations. I am proud to be a pioneer of the show in Hong Kong,' Heidi says.

Joanne Lai Chung-Nga, a Year 12 student at Sha Tin College, says: "We expect to face some challenges at the beginning, and people might not appreciate our opinions because we are just teens.

"To get more genuine feedback on a topic, we will interview young people on the streets. This is what makes the programme different."

To prepare for the show, the 16 young hosts received training and guidance from academics and experts in the fields of social sciences and media publicity.

Associate professor Dennis S.W. Wong, chairman of the applied social studies department at City University, is mentoring the group on their research skills.

'I am very impressed ... research and findings can only go so far, but you must always have empathy for others and the courage to 'walk the talk',' Wong says.

The young radio hosts are looking forward to September.

'When we discuss these issues [on the radio], we want to guide, not instruct, young people - because there are no definite answers,' Joanne says.

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