Women of a small village of Machnoor in Sangareddy district of Telangana who started a community radio fighting against all odds are all set to celebrate their 10th anniversary on October 15. The function to celebrate the occasion will be attended by UNESCO officials and communication experts from the rest of the country. Speaking to Indian Express, P V Satheesh, head of Deccan Development Society, an NGO, said that no one expected the Sangam Radio to last this long. Now its intends to go a long way further.
This community radio was started by women of Zahirabad mandal. At the outset, the aim was to broadcast programmes in a 30-km radius of Machnoor village. Main issues that the radio station covered were in the form of discussions on domestic violence, marital harmony livestock diseases, frequent water scarcity as also crop failures. Close to 50 villages nearby tune into the radio for its programmes each day. The radio has around 50,000 listeners. Almost every day, there is a two-hour programme from 7 pm to 9 pm where discussions are held on a number of topics.
“The radio jockeyes talk in their own dialect which is spoken in the surrounding villages. Every day they discuss a new word from their dialect as they feel that the language is dying. They also play cultural songs. They have a call in the facility now also and sometimes people even call to report a lost sheep or cow,” a DDS official told the paper.
This radio was started in October 2008. At the time issues like failure of crops typical to the region, debts, lack of healthcare, educational guidance and livestock-rearing were main concerns. Women of Machnoor village, faced with these issues, came up with idea of having a radio to Deccan Development Society (DDS), an NGO which works in the region. Rather than starting a radio station on their own, the NGO trained two women in operating the systems after providing needed infrastructure. After this, the NGO asked the two to become radio jockeys on their own, choose content and the kind of programmes they wanted for their community.