Radio for Rwanda a Big Success

The fifth-annual Radio for Rwanda event was a hit this past weekend, bringing in guests from all walks of life at Lawrence to sing, perform instruments, recite poetry, improvise comedy and much more. This event was a collaboration between WLFM, the campus radio station and GlobeMed, a social justice organization dedicated to working for health as a human right. The 12-hour giving program was broadcasted on WLFM and co-hosted by seniors Margaret Koss, who handled the WLFM side; and Clarissa Frayn, who was in charge of the GlobeMed side. The event served to fundraise for “nutrition improvement and economic independence for a community of potters in Masoro, Rwanda,” according to Frayn.

“The community of potters is historically marginalized by the Rwandan government and face disproportional poverty,” Frayn continued. “In Radio for Rwanda, we’re able to raise money for our partner organization, Health Development Initiative (HDI) in Kigali, Rwanda, to serve that community.”

According to the HDI website, the organization is a “non-governmental, non-profit organization based in Kigali and registered under Rwandan law” that seeks to “have a society in which everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the highest standard of health and well-being, regardless of social, cultural or economic status.”

Although final calculations of the donations are still being made, it is estimated that this year’s fundraiser brought in around $2,000 for the community of potters, which is comparable to the amount of funds raised last year. “It was really a grassroots effort. A lot of small donations, which was cool. A lot of people were engaged,” said Koss. “This was also the first year that GlobeMed members who were not involved in the first year of Radio for Rwanda weren’t there,” Frayn added.

Koss stated, “I think it’s cool that we don’t really have any other radio fundraisers [at Lawrence]. This is our fifth year, and it’s an event that was started by students. So it’s been entirely student innovated and run, and that’s really cool because it takes a lot of work to organize it on both sides, for WLFM and GlobeMed, and to get people to come on-air. It’s incredible that each year we get people to fill the time slots. I think people should look forward to it every year, because we don’t really get to hear all these voices from Lawrence all at once, in one concentrated place for one cause.”

The community-centered event was played in the café throughout most of the 12-hour run time. To motivate listeners to donate, Koss and Frayn brought in professors, administrators and students from different clubs around campus. Frayn explained that “Professor Range donated a book for people to call in, other people read graduation speeches until people called in to donate.” Koss added, “The Appletones came on and sang ‘Jolene’ but changed the lyrics to fit the event. It was great.”

“I think every time someone different came on it created a different vibe,” continued Koss. “It was great to see everybody coming together to engage in global social justice. I think the way that GlobeMed chooses to engage with the global community is ethical, we try to not be as paternalistic as the typical Western cause. We try and create conscious student leaders.”

If students want to get involved with Radio for Rwanda next year, they should reach out to Ellie Van Why and Augie Groeschel-Johnson, the new leadership of GlobeMed, and if they would like to be featured on-air next year, they should contact junior Leif Olsen, next year’s host.