A new Prague-based radio station broadcasts news, information, and music to help 300,000 refugees arriving in Czech Republic after Russia's military attack against Ukraine.
Radio veterans and absolute beginners work in the Czech capital's studio to give refugees all they need to settle down as smoothly as possible.
This staff of 10 includes people who fled Ukraine in the last few weeks and those who have lived abroad for many years. They all share the common goal of helping fellow Ukrainians in times of crisis and to protect their homeland from Russian aggression.
Natalia Churikova is an experienced journalist at Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She said that she could not refuse an invitation to be the broadcaster's editor in chief.
Churikova stated that it was meant for her people, people who needed support after going through terrible situations trying to flee Ukraine.
Sofia Tatomyr, a staffer, was one of the many who fled to flee from war.
When a friend called, the 22-year old from Kalush in the west called to inform him that the war had just begun.
Her parents and brother decided to stay at home. However, they wanted her to go to Prague to visit her aunt.
She said, "It just happened so fast." She boarded a bus in Cherniutsi alone and arrived in Prague 28 hours later, a place she had never been to before.
"When I was already in another country, I can recall the moment when I was weeping and trying to purchase a ticket. I couldn't remember what ticket I needed. She said it was very difficult.
After earning a degree in media editing and publishing, Tatomyr worked in Ukraine as a graphic designer and singer. The university also taught her radio broadcasting. Surprised, her aunt found a job posting for a Ukrainian radio station.
She stated that she needed to take some time to "understand that not everyone can be on the frontline of war and that everybody must do their best."
"So, this is how I cheer myself up that my profession is doing its best, that I'm doing the best I can, and that this is the best way that I can help our people, I am able to help Ukraine. She said, "This is how I think about it."
She was safe in Prague and still struggling to accept the invasion of her homeland.
She said, "It's terrible." "I cannot still find any logical explanation of what they are doing and why they are doing it. A war in the 21st Century? Why? We were a peaceful nation that lived just our lives.
Marharyta Gorrodska was also an announcer and was working as a copywriter at a software company. She received a call by Churikova who she knew through her internship at Radio Free Europe.
Golobrodska stated, "I used to think that those who got up early to get ready for work at 6 a.m. were crazy. But that's not what I do now and it's something I love." "That's what my heart has always been about, to help my country, even though it is far away.
Radio Ukraine plays western and Ukrainian music for 12 hours each weekday and 11 hours every weekend. It also presents news from Ukraine and the Czech Republic, as well as information for refugees at 15 minutes intervals. This includes information about how they can obtain the documents they require from local authorities, where to get work or medical treatment, and how to place children in schools. You can also listen to Ukrainian fairy tales.
Golobrodska is a native of Mykolaiv in the south. She has been living in the Czech Republic for eight and a half years. She traveled to western Ukraine after the invasion to visit her mother and 9-year old sister, and to drive them to safety. She got them to participate in her broadcast from Prague.
"My mum told me, for instance, that she would like to know what she isn't allowed to do in Ukraine." She said, for example, that she cannot park her car in Ukraine.
Bohemia Media, which owns several Czech radio stations, was the one who came up with the idea for the station. It donated a studio, and its employees worked with the Ukrainian Embassy and the local Ukrainian community to make the station a reality within three weeks. It also pays salaries.
Lukas Nadvornik is the Mediapark's owner. He represents Bohemia Media and stated that the goal is for the station not to be cut off. It is important to inform as many people as possible about the station's existence.
Sophia Medvedeva is one of them. As she spoke about her six-day trip from Mykolaiv, Poland to Krakow (Poland), the 23-year-old web designer could not contain her emotions.
She met her husband in Prague and Radio Ukraine helped her adjust to her new life.
"I am so surprised that I can listen to Ukrainian music while away from my home country. She said that she feels like she's not the only one. She only suggested that the psychologist be invited to advise the Ukrainian refugees on how to combat the survivor syndrome as well as how to beat depression.