Until recently, it seemed that Croatia had forgotten that not so long ago it was home of internally displaced persons and refugees from other countries as a result of the Yugoslav wars. However, several years ago, a major “wave” of refugees came to Europe and suddenly migration became an everyday topic again. We found ourselves in a state that was very familiar to us but also distant – because the new refugees were people from far away countries, abstract in our imagination. Because they are for us foreign people, they often have a negative image in the public. This is why the goal of journalists should be helping reinstate the dignity of refugees in the eyes of the public and more importantly to give them the opportunity to share their life stories in an authentic way. We have to get to know them.
In order to contribute to that goal my team and I recently decided to compete at the national Hult Prize competition. A challenge of the competition was to create sustainable, scalable, fast-growing social enterprises that restore the rights and dignity of 10 million refugees, forced into motion due to economic pressures, environmental conditions and conflict. We won the competition and got an opportunity to present our project at the regional finals in San Francisco in March of 2017. The main prize was 1 000 000 dollars for implementation of our project.
Our project is a news site whose content is made by the refugees themselves. More precisely, the journalists of our site are refugees who write stories of other refugees and their destinies. If refugees had the chance to become journalists, they would be able to get unique information, connections, and stories about the lives of people who had to flee their homes. Most journalists who are outsiders may have issues obtaining these information due to lack of access or trust.
We already educated some refugee reporters and they already started to work. Our news site is in a process of creation, so we are going to have our first stories soon. The news site will contain all modern journalistic forms such as reports, columns, interviews etc. The stories will be accompanied by photo and video reports, which will make a big share of the content. These will be made by refugees acting as photographers and cameramen. With such an authentic content, we hope to get attention from viewers all around the world.
It is important to remark that our project is simple and scalable and would function on the same principle at different geographical areas, such as South East Europe, Jordan or Kenya, providing unique topics in every location.
Our project is based on the social impact consisting of three key elements:
- Employment of journalists-refugees, leading to their improved integration and inclusion in the society;
- Impact of their stories on the public awareness, resulting in overcoming stereotypes and prejudices;
- Potential for creating jobs for refugees as a reaction of the society to their stories.
Written by: Karlo Tašler (Student of Managing Business Communications, Croatia)
Edited by: Ema Jakimovska