Team from TV show Laish La to help rebuild radio station in Gaza that was bombed

Adel Radwan, the host of MBC1's Laish La talks about the show's mission to become a vehicle of change – starting with a crowdfunding initiative to help rebuild a women's radio station.
The hosts of the popular TV show Laish La. Courtesy MBC
The hosts of the popular TV show Laish La. Courtesy MBC

The hosts of MBC1’s popular show Laish La (Why Not) have attempted some amazing tasks during the course of the show, in which they take on challenges suggested by viewers.

The host Adel Radwan picks out cleaning some of the highest windows in the world at the Burj Khalifa as one – literal and ­figurative – high point.

“We were hanging off, Tom Cruise style,” he says. “The worst part is the mental preparation, knowing the night before that tomorrow you’re going to be hanging off the Burj Khalifa.”

Building ice houses in Sweden, meanwhile, was something of a low. “It’s one of the worst things I did in my life,” he says. “It’s -30°C there!”

Sometimes, however, a challenge is suggested that stands out from the rest, and that’s exactly what happened when Islam Al Burbar wrote in asking the team to help rebuild her women’s community radio station, which had been bombed during the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza.

We caught up with Radwan in a hotel room in China, where the team were filming the second season of Laish La, scheduled to be broadcast in March, to find out more.

“Islam is an incredible woman,” he says. “She started Nisaa Gaza Radio from nothing. You know when you see someone with lots of passion, lots of dreams?

“She started a training centre for women who wanted to work on the radio, invested her own time and money, then all of a sudden all of it all went down to the ground. She sent a video in to us and it was really emotional for us.”

The building that was destroyed contained all of the centre’s equipment: a radio studio, computer training lab, the archive – even the furniture was lost.

The Laish La team were so moved that rather than simply adding the project to the schedule for the new season, they went straight to the crowdfunding site Aflamnah to try to get Islam and her trainees back on their feet.

“We’re asking people to participate with us in the ‘Rebuild Nisaa Radio’ project,” says Radwan. “When they pay a certain amount, they get a reward, so for US$10 (Dh36) you can get a special phone call to say thank you from one of the Laish La hosts, while if you donate $1,000 you get a private tour of our caravan and an exclusive lunch with all the hosts.

“We’re only looking to raise $20,000 – it’s not a big amount. If only 200 people participated with the $50 prize, we’d be halfway there.”

Radwan says the campaign is not just about raising money for this particular project, it is more about developing Laish Las ability to act as a vehicle for change.

“It’s not a case of just finding the money,” he says. “We could go to big investors and get the money easily, but people always want to be a part of the show, and this way we can spread it and allow as many people as possible to participate with us in this ­project.

“We wanted it to be people-­related, not big fish-related. We’re trying to relate people to the cause and make Laish La into a movement and not just a TV show. We need people to know that they are participating in a very good cause.

“Some people might not want to participate because they don’t want their name on the website. Well that’s fine – you can ­participate anonymously, and you should know that every ­dollar is going to make a difference in this project.”

Visit the Aflamnah fundraising page at www.aflamnah.com/en/laishla-nisaa-gaza-radio for more information about the project, including videos about the campaign

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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