Becoming a Youth Radio Producer in Sumpango, Sacatepequez

January 19, 2018

Ingrid Aguilar Solloy is a 14-year-old Maya Kaqchikel girl who helps her mom with daily house chores and takes care of her younger brothers, enabling her mom to attend to her ancestral craft of weaving Maya clothing in Sumpango, Guatemala. Ingrid is now a radio journalist and broadcaster too.

Ingrid explains that next year she will go back to school because what she has learned so far at a local radio workshop series, “Strengthening Children’s Participation in Community Radio,” has made her aware of her rights. From April to August 2017, Ingrid, together with 19 other children ages five to 14, participated in trainings organized by Radio Ixchel in Sumpango on topics such as children’s rights, Maya cosmovision, oral traditions, the Kaqchikel language, painting, and art. The workshops aimed to make the children aware and proud of their identity as Kaqchikel people and also to inspire them to work in the field of radio. The trainings centered around the creation of radio scripts, interviews, reports, recording, and editing of audio. 

“I used to be afraid of speaking in public. Now, I am learning radio broadcasting and I am not so afraid, I feel more confident of what I am going to say and in being in front of an audience,” Ingrid expresses. “I have received a lot of help,” she says, excited to talk about her experience in obtaining this training certification. Ingrid is not the only girl that has overcome this fear and strengthened her capacities; 12 others also participated actively in the training series.

During those five months of workshops, 19 children improved their social skills as well as developed technical skills in radio production. Jorge Ramiro Yol is a parent who motivated his seven-year-old daughter, Kimberly, to participate. He says, “What my child tells me is that in these months of training, she has learned about children’s rights and responsibilities. I encouraged her to continue because there won’t be another place where she will be taught what she is learning here. During the last two months, she was able to create radio spots, interviews, and reports about different topics. She practiced writing a radio script, the interpretation of characters, how to conduct interviews, and recorded and edited programs. The programs were aired on Radio Ixchel and are being shared with the national network of community radio stations.”

Upon completing the workshops, participants received diplomas in front of their parents. The trainings were made possible through Cultural Survival’s Community Media Grants Project supported by Cultural Survival and WACC. The Community Media Grants Project provides opportunities for Indigenous radio stations to strengthen their broadcast infrastructure and systems; it also provides training opportunities in journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, and technical skills to Indigenous community radio journalists around the world.

The graduates are now part of Radio Ixchel’s team broadcasting and creating programs on Saturdays during the Children’s Paradise Hour. It is in this space that Ingrid realizes her dream of being a radio journalist. This is only the beginning for Kaqchikel girls in Sumpango having access to radio spaces. “I learned about the workshops listening to the radio. Learning about radio and communication is what motivates me,” says Ingrid.