FM Radio Connects Diasporas in Southern England

When community radio station Awaaz FM started they had no listeners and just £50 of funding available.


But thanks to their mix of talented volunteer presenters and their commitment to their community the station now regularly broadcasts to more than 15,000 people, helping them feel connected to their community and inspired to get involved in their local area.


Run entirely by volunteers, Awaaz FM is open to anyone, but particularly focuses on the Pakistani, Indian, Malayalam, Greek, Spanish and Pesian communities in and around Portsmouth and Southampton.


They aim to offer shows featuring music, chat and phone-ins but Ali also makes sure members of their target audience are informed on a range of local news and issues.


Project manager and presenter Ali Beg explained: “We offer a wide range of shows including a weekly programme where members of our community are encouraged to come to the studio and participate in a discussion on local issues with local councillors and other representatives.


“We also arrange regular activities such as workshops, seminars and training. Each workshop helps to upskill participants while the seminars inform them on issues to do with health and social welfare.”


Felix Pastor is one of the station’s volunteer presenters. He found that his experience of volunteering changed his life. Felix said: “Awaaz FM helped me when no-one else would and if it wasn’t for the radio project, I would still be having no social life.

“I don’t have friends or family here and before joining Awaaz the only thing I would do is go to work, finish late, come home, eat, sleep and go to work again next day.


“Today, the success of my own community project lies with the fact that I got confidence and inspiration from Awaaz.”

Now the station want to reach an even bigger audience, especially the elderly and other vulnerable people. To achieve this they need people to follow them on social media and spread the word, and they also need donations of computing equipment to support their volunteer presenters.


Ali explained: “As a community project, we are always looking to improve and technology is changing fast.

“To be able to keep up with this, we need to keep in-house technology updated. We are always looking for laptops and PCs to help support our presenters, especially the disabled, who can sometimes find it difficult to come to the studio so a laptop makes it easier to work from home.”


If you think you can help then visit or find them on social:


Original Article by Jenna Sloan


4 Koalas and Baby Joey Released Back Into Wild Following Australia Bushfires

During the Australia bushfires that peaked between December 2019 and January 2020, rapidly spreading fires killed tens of thousands of koalas across the country. It’s estimated that more than 1 billion animals perished in Australia a result of the fires.

Now that the record-breaking fires have finally been contained, some of the lucky koalas who were rescued before the fires could hurt them are finally being returned to the wild.

This week, five of the rescued koalas who have been rehabilitating at Sydney’s Taronga Wildlife Hospital have been released back into the Blue Mountains in Australia, as MSN reported. One of the five koalas is actually a baby joey, pictured above with his mother.

These four koalas (plus the joey) are from a group of 12 koalas that have been in the Taronga Wildlife Hospital’s care since they were rescued from the fires. Hopefully the remaining eight koalas will be able to join them in the wild soon.

“While they have coped well in care we are delighted to finally send our koalas home,” Dr. Kellie Leigh, Executive Director of Science for Wildlife, said in a statement, as per MSN. Science for Wildlife, a non-profit wildlife conservation organization that helped rescue the koalas, also works with WIRES Wildlife Rescue and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

“We have been busy assessing the burnt area that we rescued them from, to establish when the conditions have improved enough that the trees can support them again,” Leigh continued. “The recent rains have helped and there is now plenty of new growth for them to eat, so the time is right. We will be radio-tracking them and keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they settle in okay.”

These 12 koalas were actually taken from the wild in December, just before the fires actually hit their habitat, Southern Highland News reported at the time. Leigh and her team were able to do this because of radio-tracking devices that had previously been outfitted on the koalas.

“We were at risk of losing the entire koala population at this site and so that’s what drove us to try something so radical,” Leigh said.

The radio-tracking devices are still on these four koalas, which will allow the team to monitor them, so they can “plan a future for koalas under climate change, where we expect more frequent and intense fires,” according to Leigh.

An estimated 25,000 koalas died on Kangaroo Island (off South Australia) during the bushfires, according to The Guardian. In New South Whales, the fires killed an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 koalas — about 30 percent of all the koalas in the state, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Many of those deaths were attributed to the fires destroying koala habitats and food.

These five lucky koalas were not the first to be returned to the wild after being rescued from the wildfires. Last month, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital began returning some of its koala rescues to the wild, as seen in the above video.

Original article by Sophie Hirsh – Source Green Matters

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

To find out more about the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and ways to get involved, go to their website.

To find out more about WIRES Wildlife Rescue and ways to get involved, go to their website.

To find out more about Science for Wildlife and ways to get involved, go to their website.


These Panels Generate Fresh Water From Air and Sunlight

In a remote part of Colombia, high-tech glass panels are helping residents of Bahia Hondita become water secure, thanks to a partnership between Zero Mass Water and Conservation International.

A set of 149 “hydropanels” that can supply 22,000 liters of fresh water each month were installed in the coastal community in December 2019. The panels use sunlight to draw water vapor out of the atmosphere, concentrate it, and then infuse it with minerals. In less than an hour, a single panel can fill up a glass of water.

It’s a remarkable feat of modern engineering — sustainable and scalable — that liberates the Indigenous Wayuu community from the burden of finding fresh water. Previously, just 4% of the residents in Bahia Hondita had access to fresh water.

“There was no source of water in the community in Bahia Hondita and they had to rely on walking several hours to collect poor quality, mainly brackish water,” María Claudia Díazgranados Cadelo, director of marine and community incentives programs at Conservation International, told Global Citizen.

Cody Friesen, CEO of Zero Mass Water, said that a number of other factors made Bahia Hondita a good setting for hydropanel installations.

While large parts of Colombia enjoy fresh piped-in water, Bahia Hondita is too remote to be reached by normal infrastructure projects. The area’s water sources are also being threatened by climate change as tropical storms intensify and sea levels continue to rise, which can pollute and degrade water sources.

“Precipitation in Guajira has declined as a result of climate change, further exacerbating the lack of water,” Cadelo said.

On top of that, a critical river that used to supply water to the area has been heavily disrupted by a dam, Friesen said.

The hydropanels bypass these challenges and can indefinitely supply the community with fresh water.

“The goal, of course, is to show the government and other stakeholders in the region that we can help them with their water security,” Friesen said.

Cadelo said that she expects disease rates and infant mortality to decline in the months ahead because of the newfound fresh water.

“Accessible, abundant, clean drinking water means improved livelihoods and health, and of course, more time — time and energy that the Wayuu can now use to focus on conservation and living sustainable, abundant lives,” Cadelo said in a press release.

Water insecurity is a growing problem around the world.

An estimated 1 in 4 people around the world currently face water shortages and up to 50% of the global population could face water shortages by 2050.

Declining water sources could upend global agriculture, disrupt health care systems, and trigger regional conflicts, according to the World Economic Forum.

Solutions like Zero Mass Water’s hydropanel installations can help water-stressed communities. Installations are already providing fresh water in 35 countries. Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Dubai, and communities in arid parts of Australia are now getting water from hydropanels.

“I think of it as our duty to make this the most efficient source of potable water in the world,” Friesen said.

“You can store food, air is abundant and free no matter where you are, but water is the tough one because it’s intrinsically wet, heavy, and hard to carry around,” she added. “It’s the stuff of life, but pathogens grow in it, it’s perishable, it dissolves good stuff and bad stuff.”

Original article by Joe McCarthy – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Frank Albrecht on Unsplash

To find out more about Conservation International and ways to get involved, go to their website.


Smiley Talks Tackle Isolation and Loneliness

LONELINESS is an issue which doesn’t discriminate.

It can affect people of any age, background or gender, and if it’s not addressed then chronic loneliness can lead to serious mental and physical health problems.

But it’s also an issue surrounded by stigma, and many people feel ashamed to admit they are feeling lonely.

Which is why Smiley Movement decided to tackle loneliness head on, and host their Ending Loneliness and Isolation Smiley Talk in London in September 2019.

TV personality and longtime loneliness campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen shared her wisdom with the audience, and charities who work to combat loneliness – including The Samaritans, The Silver Line and Alertacall – all contributed to the debate and shared their experiences too.

After listening to the panel discussion the audience were involved in an immersive art experience presented by the Loneliness Lab, and everyone was then invited to spend time meeting each other and sharing their experiences before the event finished.

Dame Esther said: “I think it’s always worthwhile having this kind of conversation. I think people pick up ideas from each other, they learn about each other’s work, ways of communicating and ways of reaching out. I’m sure it will bear fruit.”

Student James Downs gave a keynote address at the talk. As a volunteer listener and charity champion for The Samaritans, loneliness is something he frequently encounters.

He said: “I think that events like this are extremely important, as they raise a subject that people can feel quite ashamed of talking about.

“I think that it’s important to have permission to admit that perhaps you’re feeling lonely, even if on the surface you look like you’re having the best life ever, including on your social media “Coming to a place where it’s welcoming, where there isn’t a pretentious atmosphere, and you’re open and given permission, even encouraged, to talk about subjects which might not be easy is something which could really help a lot of people.”

Dame Esther also shared some helpful advice which everyone can put into action on an everyday basis to combat loneliness.

“If it’s a child I would recommend they visit their grandparents because you gain a lot from grandparents,” she said.

“If it’s a neighbour I think you can call round on Christmas Day, or whenever you like, or maybe on your birthday with a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

“If it’s an older person you’re passing in the street it’s worth saying ‘may I just say how lovely you look’, and you’ll find they’re shocked because they don’t expect people to reach out to them.”

The talk, which took place in the Candid Arts Centre in Islington, north London, is one of a series of events hosted around the UK by Smiley Movement aimed at bringing together communities, charities and interested parties to discuss social issues which affect us all.

Original Article by Jenna Sloan


The Last Ebola Patient Has Just Been Discharged From Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it seems, has started turning the tide against the Ebola outbreak that was declared in August 2018.

On Tuesday, the last Ebola patient was released from a treatment centre in Beni. The city, in the Kivu region, is the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak.

It means that, right now, there are no cases of Ebola in the DRC — while it’s reportedly been 14 days since a new case was confirmed.

It’s a massive milestone in the country’s fight against the virus, with the news being shared by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for Africa through a social media video.

The video shows a patient identified as Masiko leaving the treatment centre.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement: “I applaud the tireless efforts that have been made to respond to this outbreak and I’m truly encouraged by the news that the last Ebola patient has left the treatment centre healthy.”

Moeti said, however, that the outbreak is far from being contained. “It is not yet the end of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We must stay vigilant in the coming weeks and beyond,” she added.

ABC News reports that 46 people who had come into contact with Masiko are still being monitored and, WHO officials added, all the aspects of the Ebola response remain in place to ensure that any new cases are detected quickly and treated.

The current outbreak is the second biggest ever to hit the central African country. It’s the DRC’s 10th outbreak, and the second-worst globally following the virus’s outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 — which killed over 11,300 people.

The WHO says, to date, the current outbreak has had 3,444 confirmed cases of Ebola — leading to 2,264 deaths.

The WHO added that health teams are still monitoring the virus through measures that include supporting quick responses to suspected infections, and working with communities to report suspected cases.

News of Masika’s discharge comes a few weeks after WHO announced that four African countries have been given the green light to licence an Ebola vaccine.

This means that the vaccine can now be administered without first undergoing clinical trials. The vaccine was found to be effective in 97.5% of cases it was tested on.

Despite these milestones, the WHO says the end of the outbreak can only be declared when there haven’t been any new infections for 42 days after the last reported case tests negative.

However, Dr. Jean-Christophe Shako, a Congolese epidemiologist who heads a local Ebola response team, told ABC News in a text message that the end is near.

He said: “We are at the end of Ebola.”


Original article by Lerato Mogoatlhe – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Bill Wegener on Unsplash

To find out more about the World Health Organization (WHO) and ways to get involved, go to their website.


The Speak Out Project Teaching Students Lifelong Skills

CONFIDENCE, problem solving, teamwork and the ability to reflect and learn from mistakes are all essential skills for success in the workplace.

But the pressure of coursework and academic results mean that schools often don’t have the time or resources to help young people develop these skills.

But for teenagers in Sheffield, South Yorks, the Speak Out project has proved to be an essential and enjoyable experience in helping them to see how they can have a successful career once they leave school and start the next stage in their lives.

The project is run by Dr Andreanna Drencheva, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Sheffield University Management School.

She recruits mentors from different careers and industries around the city who coach young people in skills like public speaking, teamwork and building their confidence.

Helped by their mentors the teenagers also work in teams on a six week long project which aims to inspire social change, which they then present before a panel of judges for their feedback. Past themes have included tackling loneliness and encouraging local economic growth.

Dr Drencheva explained: “Speak Out was born out of a desire to provide young people with a meaningful opportunity to gain employability skills, be a force for positive change in their communities and learn more about their options after school.

“The experience of seeing the students grow and generate innovative ideas is both humbling and inspiring.”

The project was inspired by the UN sustainable development goals around delivering quality education and reducing inequality.

And while the benefits of mentoring and coaching sessions to the young people taking part are clear, the relationship works both ways. Mentors report that they have learned to use new digital technology through mentoring sessions and have had to learn how to connect and work with young people.

Jessica Swaithe is a senior accountant and also a Speak Out mentor. She said: “I’ve had to completely adapt my skills to working with young people. I’ve learnt new skills and developed my existing ones and I will take this back to my career.”

And BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Paulette Edwards, a judge on the Speak Out panel, has seen first had the impact of the project.

She said: “I feel as if we are actually preparing our young people for the world that they are going into and they are developing skills that they can really use and do something with.”

The project has been running for three years, and has made some long-lasting partnerships with businesses across the city. Participants have reported feeling more connected to their communities and aware of social problems and how to address them.

But in order to carry on they need more mentors from any organisation or sector to work with the young people and help them grow and develop.

If you think you can help see for more details.


Original Article by Jenna Sloan

Equality Wellbeing

Scotland Just Passed a Bill to Provide Free Period Products

The Scottish government took a U-turn and is now on track to support new legislation to make period products free for all.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon first introduced the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill to legally make period products available to students and anyone who needs them through a government-supported “period products scheme” on April 23. Ministers previously opposed the bill, but received criticism from menstrual health advocates and announced on Feb. 20 that they would lend support for the bill’s passage.

The Scottish National Party entered a stage one debate on Tuesday seeking amendments to address their “significant” concerns about the bill but it passed 112 votes to zero, with one abstention. A committee of MSPs will now review the proposal before reaching a final decision

The charity Girlguiding Scotland has actively worked to end period poverty in the country. Girlguiding said that they welcomed support for the bill in a statement released to Global Citizen on Feb. 20.

“This is such a great step forward in ensuring that the taboos around periods are tackled in making them more visible, starting discussions around periods, and ensuring that in the future, they will no longer be a source of anxiety,” Girlguiding Scotland Speak Out Champion Katie Young, 21, said. “I’m hopeful that the bill will continue to move through Parliament, and that universal free period products becomes a right for all people in Scotland.”

The charity recognizes there is still a way to go before the bill becomes law.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell initially told Scottish Parliament the bill was unnecessary and feared people would take advantage of free period products. She also expressed concerns about the bill’s more than £24 million (around US $31 million) annual cost.

But Campbell confirmed that the legislation would have bipartisan support from the Scottish Conservatives, the Greens, and the Liberal Democrats when it comes before the Parliament for the first time next week.

While the government voiced concerns about implementing the bill, they understood there was, “broad consensus about general policy objectives,” Campbell said, according to the BBC.

Many serve to benefit if the bill becomes law. Plan International UK found 1 in 10 girls in the UK can’t afford to buy menstrual products, and 49% have missed an entire day of school because of their period.

Lennon committed to work across party lines to implement the bill.

“Parliament will now need to pull out all the stops and work hard collectively and collaboratively,” she said, according to the BBC.

Original article by Leah Rodriguez – Source Green Matters

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

To find out more about Girlguiding Scotland movement and ways to get involved, go to their website.


The Bridge Homelessness to Hope

On a typical Sunday more than 100 homeless people sit down to lunch with Keith Lawson-West and his team at The Bridge in Leicester.

As well as a hot meal they also have access to showers, clothes and toiletries. And throughout the week the charity provides their clients with a wide array of advice and support, from legal advice to health check-ups and yoga sessions.

It’s all part of their drive to help some of Leicester’s most vulnerable residents go from homelessness to hope, in a city where more than one in five of the residents live in a household classed as ‘income deprived’.

Keith, who set up The Bridge in 2009 explained: “We’re revolutionary in many ways.

“We’ve started a fitness group because if you’re feeling better about yourself you can engage with more learning. We’ve got funding to start art and therapy groups, we’re going to start a gardening group – things designed to make people feel better about themselves, to build hope.

“It will take five years for these people to realise their potential but we can see the vision we have is going to work.”

The Bridge work from a hub based close to the city centre where they invite student doctors, legal students and the Job Centre to come and work with the city’s homeless, and they regularly have around 150 people looking for help and support at any one time. They also raise much-needed funds from their mobile coffee wagon, financed by a grant and loan from social investment group Key Fund.

Patrick Harris, 52, is an outreach worker with the charity, who was inspired to help others after he lived on the streets for four years.

He said: “The Bridge is part of my life. I’m here six days per week, I know how much it’s needed.

“I get up at 4am, ride my bike into town – say come down, get them something to eat, a shower, a change of clothes, ask them questions – do you have a doctor, are you on benefits? When they’re in the building we can slowly work with them.

“It’s about love. These guys are missing the love. Someone to sit down and talk to them and say how’s your day, how do you feel – it’s just that love.”

The Bridge need donations of clothes and toiletries for the homeless people they help as well as unwanted furniture which will help those moving into homes from the street.

For more information see

Connect on social:


Twitter: @LeicesterBridge

Instagram: @leicesterbridge

Original Article by Jenna Sloan


Greta Thunberg Launches #ClimateStrikeOnline Amidst Coronavirus: How to Participate

Every Friday for the last year and a half, Greta Thunberg has participated in a climate strike — and she has inspired millions of students from around the world do the same, striking outside their local government offices on Fridays as part of the Fridays for Future movement. But now, with coronavirus aka COVID-19 spreading all around the world, Greta wants students to stay home, and instead participate in a digital strike, called the #ClimateStrikeOnline.

On Wednesday, Greta explained her stance in a twitter thread. “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This of course goes for all crises,” she tweeted, winking at the climate crisis. “Now the experts urge us to avoid big public gatherings for a better chance to #flattenthecurve and slow the spreading of the Coronavirus.”

As seen in the graphic Greta shared, the idea of flattening the curve is us reducing the number of coronavirus cases as time goes on, rather than letting the cases rapidly increase, in order to decrease the overall the damage of the virus. As population health analyst Drew Harris told The New York Times, to help flatten the curve, citizens all over the world need to take efforts like constantly cleaning hands, social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantining.

Greta, ever a fan of science, is unsurprisingly siding with the experts here. “So I personally recommend that we do as the experts say. Especially in high-risk areas,” she tweeted. “We young people are the least affected by this virus but it’s essential that we act in solidarity with the most vulnerable and that we act in the best interest of our common society. “

“The climate and ecological crisis is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced but for now (of course depending on where you live) we’ll have to find new ways to create public awareness & advocate for change that don’t involve too big crowds – listen to local authorities,” Greta continued.

So instead of encouraging climate activists to take to the streets, Greta is encouraging them to strike from home this Friday (and probably a few Fridays after that). “So keep your numbers low but your spirits high and let’s take one week at the time,” she wrote. “You can join the #DigitalStrike for upcoming Fridays — post a photo of you striking with a sign and use the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline!”

The two hashtags are already growing on Twitter. One Twitter user hypothesized that moving the strikes to the internet will allow many more people than usual to participate — and if enough people participate, maybe #ClimateStrikeOnline will trend as a top Twitter hashtag on Friday.

Greta has never missed a Friday strike — even during both of her two-week boat journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, she symbolically posed with her “school strike for the climate” sign for photos. Her #ClimateStrikeOnline has the power to be just as effective — if not more effective — than in-person strikes, all the while encouraging students to stay home and help reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Original article by Sophie Hirsh – Source Green Matters

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

To find out more about Fridays for Future movement and ways to get involved, go to their website.


‘The Elephant Group’ charity boosts prospects for disadvantaged students

The opportunity for the brightest students to go to the UK’s best universities should be open to everyone. But currently just 19 per cent of students who go to a state comprehensive school apply to a top university, compared to 65 per cent of their peers who have had an independent education.

And for the most disadvantaged students, that figure falls to just five per cent.

It’s a statistic that The Elephant Group are trying to change.

Founded by a group of school headteachers who wanted their pupils to achieve more once they moved on from school to university, they run an intensive programme to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who live in deprived areas, to apply to top universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield and Exeter.

The programme includes confidence building activities for students, training and guidance for teachers on how to encourage their pupils’ ambitions, and also a summer school where teenagers are invited to spend several days experiencing life at a top university to give them a glimpse of what they could achieve.

Laura Compton is the Managing Director of the charity. She said: “Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not and should certainly not be influenced by your family income or area of the country where you grew up.

“The Elephant Group works with schools and universities via two regional hubs which allows us to listen, reflect and address local issues faced by communities in supporting their young people to aspire, apply and attain the grades to access a top university.

“Our pilot data in London shows that 96 per cent of students we supported applied to at least one top third university.”

And students supported by the charity have had a huge boost to their confidence and ambition.

Shakirat Aliu, who attends Ark Globe Academy in Southwark, south London, said: “Through visits to top achieving universities such as Kings College I’ve been made aware of the application process through UCAS and the key things you must look for when choosing the right university for yourself.

“Additionally the summer school visit to Exeter was very helpful as it gave me a taster of what it’s like moving to a new city and meeting people from different backgrounds.”

The Elephant Group work with schools and universities from two hubs, one in London and one in Yorkshire.

They are keen to hear from any independent schools or businesses in these areas who could support their students with activities such as work experience placements and professional and confidence building skills.

They are also keen to hear from donors who would like to support the project or from schools or universities who would like to be involved.

For more information see or follow them on Twitter @theelephantgrou