This week SBS Radio announced that it’s launching a new settlement guide for migrants.

Available in both audio and digital, this weekly program will cover all the things that new migrants need to know about life in Australia that many of us living here take for granted. Experts will share tips and information on a variety of topics from how to vote to how to lodge a tax return among other things.

I welcome this initiative because it’s a positive step towards helping migrants assimilate into their new community by empowering them with information. Radio is a great medium for fostering a sense of community and it’s a familiar medium which has been around for decades.

My memories of radio

I grew up in the 80s in Kenya and know the sense of comfort and security that came with the familiar tuning of the radio by my grandfather as we gathered in the evenings to listen to news (TV came much later in our household). The deep tones of the presenter from BBC World Service announcing the day’s news was reassuring.

More than that, it was the sense of family support I felt as a child when we all sat down to listen to what was happening in the country and that leads to lifelong bonds and stability. Radio at the time was like a steady boat capable of charting the most troublesome waters, keeping you connected to something solid but intangible, a feeling of being a cog in a bigger wheel, significant and useful and that’s what I hope SBS Radio’s new settlement guide will prove to be for new migrants in Australia.

Available in 30 languages to reflect the diversity in Australia, SBS Director of Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks hopes that SBS Radio will help migrants feel at home, be a means of sharing their stories and celebrate their culture.

For the wider community, I hope the segment will give you an insight into how migrants feel, the intricate aspects of their culture, how difficult it is to start a new life in a new country and the challenges faced daily as they try to make sense of an unfamiliar environment.

Well done SBS radio! I wish you the very best and thank you for taking a positive step forwards.