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ACAA Attends BBC Headquarters

Written by Jet Mates, Volunteer at ACAA – June 2017

On the 13th of June, the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association attended the BBC headquarters in Central London.  The purpose of the trip was to educate and inspire young Afghan women, who haven’t had a wide range of opportunities available to them in the classroom or work place.

We were met by Sahar Ehsas, a young Afghan woman who works for the BBC World Service.  She showed us the news floor, and then we travelled up to the fifth floor where the World Service is based.  It was fascinating to see all the different sectors hard at work, from BBC Persian to BBC Asian, and of course our group took a natural inclination towards the Afghan section.  It was lovely as one or two of the journalists actually knew women in our party, and leapt up from their desks to welcome everyone.  An empty studio meant that some of the women got an opportunity to sit at the desk  with headphones on, and get a feeling for how it might be to conduct an interview or broadcast a radio programme.

We then went to the top floor where the radio stations work from.  There were huge transfers on the windows of some of the studios of the celebrities that had performed there, which really gave the place an exciting feel.  We got to go onto the rooftop terrace and see incredible views of London, all the way across Oxford Circus.

Our visit was brought to an abrupt halt by a fire alarm, and the whole building was evacuated, but thankfully we had already seen everything that was intended for us, and the women were delighted.  When we were back outside a couple of the younger women asked me how they could go about working at the BBC.  That was so promising and exciting to hear.  This was one young woman’s testimony:

“My name is Saman and I have come from Afghanistan last year. I have recently started attending the Women’s Tea Corner sessions to learn English and make new friends. On 13th June 2017, I was invited to attend a tour of BBC broadcasting centre at the heart of London one of the greatest tourist attraction place in the world that was arranged by the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association. I brought my family along with me as I thought it would be a good chance for them to leave the house and learn something new. The tour was very good and fun as I always dreamed of visiting the BBC to witness how they make the news, TV programs and radio programmes. In this tour I met with some of BBC’s employers and also we visited a the BBC Afghanistan section. The BBC Afghanistan journalists were hard at work and come over to say hi to us. We met the journalist and made some new nice friends, took some pictures with them and really enjoyed the day. I would like to thank the ACAA for their hard work in organising this tour and for the BBC for the tour. This trip has inspired me to work hard and study as I want to become a doctor in the future.”

Those of us that volunteer for the ACAA were thrilled to read this.  The purpose of our tour had been achieved if even one of the women had been so inspired.  I hope that the ACAA can continue their excellent work in the future and do more things like this; it is so important for all women, but particularly those in minority communities, to aspire to their highest potential.

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