To keep the sky from falling – Remarkable stories of human unity
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The podcast series Aby nebe nespadlo (To keep the sky from falling) on resilient communities follows journalist Fatima Rahimi as she travels through five Czech cities. Rahimi meets with groups of people supporting Ukrainian refugees and their families. The stories she finds in Klatovy, Beroun, Jablonec nad Nisou, Cheb and Hodonin change her perspective on the ability of Czech women and men to help. She herself has a rather dramatic experience with immigration, having fled Afghanistan with her family more than 20 years ago. Her critical perspective was later shaped by the reaction of Czech society to the so-called European migration crisis around 2015, which she followed as a journalist. On a journey with five stops, Rahimi discovers how a consciousness of togetherness is emerging that has made us cope unexpectedly well with massive immigration over the past year. Together we get to go to a community and maternity centre, a falconry, a library or a cosy living room to meet people talking about how the war has affected their lives.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, countless associations, communities and strong social ties have emerged in Czechia, united by a fundamental trait. Their cornerstone has been the close cooperation between new arrivals from Ukraine and people working in Czech community centres, along with many other Czechs and already settled Ukrainians who have decided to help. The stories of five such communities are told in a new Czech podcast series hosted by journalist Fatima Rahimi. The podcast is a project of the IOM Czechia.
The new podcast series Aby nebe nespadlo – Neobyčejné příběhy lidské soudržnosti (To Keep the Sky From Falling - Remarkable Stories of Human Unity) follows journalist Fatima Rahimi as she travels through five Czech towns. Rahimi meets groups of people supporting Ukrainian refugees and their families. The stories, which take place in Klatovy, Beroun, Jablonec nad Nisou, Cheb and Hodonin, change her perspective on the ability of Czech society to help. Rahimi herself has a rather dramatic experience with immigration, having fled Afghanistan with her family more than 20 years ago. Her perspective was later shaped by Czech society's reaction to the European migration situation in 2015, which she followed as a journalist.
"Even before my first trip to visit Ukrainian-Czech communities in the autumn of 2022, I lived in the belief that solidarity with refugees from Ukraine was on the wane. People helped in the beginning, now they don't have much of a commitment. But when I saw the situation up close, I realized how many incredibly strong personalities are still willing and able to help, to help refugees start anew," says Fatima Rahimi about her new experience. She adds that a lot of credit for the help also goes to a number of Ukrainians who lived in the Czech Republic before the war.
"With this podcast, we would like to draw attention to the extremely meritorious and often invisible work of community centres, libraries and associations that have helped and are helping tens of thousands of people in the Czech Republic who have fled war," says Petr Čáp, director of the Czech office of the International Organization for Migration and author of the podcast's theme. The podcast series is intended to highlight the fact that Czech civil society has managed the unprecedented wave of migration thanks to the support of strong, resilient and coordinated communities, the basic pillars of a civil democratic society. "All members of communities should be aware of these values and further strengthen trust between people and resistance to hateful or xenophobic manifestations of political marketing, for which migration is a grateful topic of polarization," Čáp adds.
The Director-General of the International Organization for Migration under the United Nations praised the Czech Republic's solidarity at the beginning of October last year. "The Czech Republic has set a high standard in hosting such a large number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine," said António Vitorino.
A five-part podcast series So the sky won't fall - Extraordinary Stories of Human Cohesion created by Kineticon. It is publicly available for listening on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Voiceover of the podcast is narrated by Petra Bučková. The selection of the communities for the podcast was made in cooperation with the Via Foundation, which supported the projects of communities from Beroun, Klatovy and Jablonec nad Nisou from its From Ukraine Among Us programme. The project is commissioned by the International Organization for Migration - IOM Czech Republic and is based on the global It Takes a Community movement celebrating how all people, regardless of where they were born, contribute to making our communities better places to live and call home.
By IOM Czechia
Created by audio group Kineticon
Master: Tomáš Karásek
Cast: Fatima Rahimi, Petra Bučková and members of communities from Klatovy, Beroun, Jablonec nad Nisou, Cheb and Hodonín
Photo: Anna Šolcová
Visuals: Lina Skorobogatchenko