El Salvadorian radio station visits Blair

Feb. 10, 2004, midnight | By Robin Hernandez | 18 years, 3 months ago

Radio Victoria speaks to students

Radio Victoria, a public, community-based radio station in rural El Salvador run primarily by youth, visited Blair on Monday, Feb. 9 to promote the radio and raise money for college.

The radio is based in Cuidad Victoria, Cabanas, El Salvador where the town's youth work to produce news shows and discussions with local organizations. They also broadcast popular music and community musicians for the "isolated, mostly rural communities that had been destroyed by the civil war." The station has gained international support and secured rights to a national FM frequency since it began in 1993.

Oscar Beltran and Vilma Lainez both work for Radio Victoria and look to the radio as a place to learn and express themselves. Lainez, who was born in a refugee camp in Bolivia after her family was forced from their home in El Salvador during the war, joined Radio Victoria five years ago. "All these actions [the war] have made us youths that don't accept how things are," Lainez said. "We try to resolve them and that is why I'm involved in Radio Victoria."

Wendy Wallas, known in El Salvador as Christina Starr, has lived in El Salvador for 15 years and helped to start Radio Victoria. Wallas is traveling with Lainez and Beltran on a US speaking tour to "report on Radio Vicotria's progress to groups and individuals who have supported the radio over the years." They also hope to raise $6,000 for the mortgage on the Radio Victoria house and property and begin a scholarship fund for the young people in the community to continue their education.

Senior Ben Austin first learned about Radio Victoria after taking a trip to El Salvador this summer. Austin worked in the community that Wallas calls "one of poorest part of the countryside."

For information about hosting Radio Victoria tour, please contact: Companion Community Development Alternatives (CoCoDA) at cocodaindy@igc.org or call 317-920-8643.

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