In this hospital, kids run the show

 
 
 

It’s quiet in the hospital, other than the sounds of beeping machines and footsteps in the corridor. But when a familiar voice crackles over the speakers, the patients’ ears excitedly prick up. Being in a strange place can be scary, but Alaweyah’s show calms their worries. The now 13-year-old is a radio host for RX Radio, a station created for and run by children within the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. She uses her platform to entertain her listeners while discussing topics relevant to the young audience. “There aren’t many spaces where kids like me have a lot of space to talk to one another about their fears,” Alaweyah says. She’s changing that.

Alaweyah understands the plight of every patient, having spent time in these wards as one. At the age of six, she was diagnosed with precocious puberty – the early onset of puberty in a child’s body before the appropriate stage. Worse than the symptoms was the bullying that followed, and the painful uncertainty of what was happening. No one around her could make sense of it either. Alaweyah needed to talk. So she turned to her place of medical healing to find consolation for her emotions too. “I was scared at first,” she says. “But there are other kids who are going through similar things like me.”

Through her show, Alaweyah is creating a space of conversation that puts reassurance into the heart of every little patient. “Just because you’re children doesn’t mean that your voice doesn’t matter to the world,” she says. The airwaves offer a much-needed way into the world of children’s issues. And Alaweyah is serious about her task. She knows exactly what the listeners need to hear, and always delivers. “If more kids had the opportunity to speak openly, there would be a lot more understanding of each other’s experiences,” she says. All it takes is giving children a chance to be heard, to let them know they’re not alone.

*Alaweyah’s surname has been excluded to protect the privacy of the patient.