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Marie-Anne DAYÉ

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TET well informed thanks to radio

In September 2023, Actions interculturelles de développement et d’éducation (AIDE) launched a 100% Spanish-language radio program dedicated to Spanish-speaking temporary foreign workers on CIGN FM 96.7. A great way to keep them informed, whether they’re at work or at home, in Coaticook or México!

Text and photos : Marie-Anne Dayé

A few minutes before going on air on this April 2, 2024, Said Eljach Beltran and Andrea Contreras, agents for the Ensemble on sème project, look relaxed. They’re already on their 27th episode! The idea of informing TFWs via this medium was the brainchild of the AIDE organization they work for, which is funded by the Canadian government as part of the Migrant Worker Support Program (MWSP). Over time, the presenters – who had never experimented with radio before – became more comfortable behind the microphone speaking to Spanish-speaking temporary workers. The stage fright of the early days turned into a relaxed discussion, punctuated by Latin American music of all styles.

At the start, in September 2023, they were reaching some 900 listeners, and now they’re attracting between 1,500 and 1,900. As the show is broadcast live and can be heard all over the world, some workers who have returned home on vacation are still loyal to the station. Said and Andrea are even sometimes recognized at events organized by AIDE. At first, we thought it was just our families listening to us,” laughs Said. But then we got the good news that there were a lot of listeners. According to Said, the show is a way of going further in providing information and support to workers. “With the organization, we go out to the farms, where TFWs work and live, and share useful information for them. We realized that radio can be a space where we can spread the same kind of information, but on a larger scale,” says Said.
Andrea and Said host "Hoy hablamos en español" every Tuesday at 6pm.

Inform and entertain

The program is divided into three categories: practical information, where we discuss how health insurance works and the pay stub, among other things; socio-cultural initiation to Quebec traditions, where we introduce the sugar shack, the Thanksgiving holiday, etc.; and “The voice of immigration”, a meeting with a temporary foreign worker. Today, it’s this theme that takes center stage. Johar Nahoria, a temporary Mexican worker at Olymel, is invited to share his experience of life in Granby, as well as his favorite music, with listeners. Relaxed too, as it’s his2nd appearance on the show, he’s still a little nervous knowing that some sixty members of his family in Mexico have tuned in to hear him.

Listen to an extract from the show!

On air, Johar recounts the culture shock he experienced on arriving in Quebec. Even though he was already learning French before he left, he had trouble understanding the Quebec accent when he first set foot in Granby. “There’s no transportation, you don’t know where to go or who to talk to. If you need something, you get to know Dollarama! Then you get to know Maxi. Then it’s like that until you meet the team from an organization like AIDE, and you start taking part in activities, getting out more, getting to know Quebec,” says Johar.
The show is also a forum for informing workers about different activities in the Estrie region. “It helps them integrate into their community,” says Andrea.

Positive feedback from workers

Oswaldo Revolorio is a loyal listener to the program. The 35-year-old welder from Guatemala has been working at Dalkotech in Sherbrooke since 2021, and often takes part in activities organized by AIDE, such as basketball, swimming and the Sugar Shack.” The members of the Actions interculturelles team help me a lot. They give information on labor standards, and if you need a translation, they’re more than happy to do it,” he says.

The radio show is also a great help in providing him with the information he needs, especially when it comes to labor law. “If it hadn’t been for them, I’d never have had this information. Before, I didn’t know how many paid days I was entitled to if I got sick. Now I know.”

Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., Said and Andrea are live on Coaticook’s radio cooperative CIGN FM 96.7, hosting the program “Hoy hablamos en español”. Don’t miss it!

The project was funded by the Government of Canada.

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