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This article was published 2/3/2020 (410 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Many local cultural communities have found a voice for their languages, cultures and cuisine, thanks to a local television show called U Multicultural Channel.
The program was founded by Taya Rtichsheva shortly after she emigrated from Kazakhstan to study at the University of Manitoba in 2011. A trained journalist, she wanted to work in local television as a producer.
"I offered a pilot program to Shaw Winnipeg, and have produced shows since 2015," Rtichsheva said. "We use a studio at Shaw, as part of their community TV option."
U Multicultural unites the Inuit, Yazidi, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Brazilian, Filipino, Scottish, German, Colombian and other communities in the show, she said, and provides them with space where they can broadcast. The show covers issues such as helping immigrants and newcomers settle in Canada, and promoting the principles of equality and tolerance, she added.
A crew of volunteers runs the cameras, and edits the digital footage. They also train the host for each community show.
Erica Silva works on the Brazilian community segment on the show.
"U Multicultural has made a big difference in sharing our stories in our own language," she said, adding that she has hosted a couple of shows. "The Brazilian community is growing in Winnipeg. We want our kids to know and keep their culture. Our language is really important to us. We’ll show kids solving problems of living here in Winnipeg, while speaking Portuguese."
Ashad Irfan came to Canada from Pakistan in 2012 to study at the University of Manitoba where he was the Pakistan Students Association president in 2016 to 2018. He soon saw an opportunity to broaden the reach the association had in the community, beyond students to families.
"Joining the show allows us to promote our talent and have a diverse dialogue," he said. "We are stronger as a country because of diversity. The show lets us promote larger events. We can do shows on the U of M, such as how Pakistani students can find employment. We’ve already done two shows with Taya."
Hadji Hesso is the director of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba. He works with 37 cultural communities in the province, and would like to see the show expand beyond the 16 communities currently involved.
Paulo Bergantim works on the Portuguese segment of U Multicultural, and also with LusocanTV — Portuguese Community Television. He would like to see multicultural television programming funded, much in the same way the CBC and APTN receive funding.
Expanding the show is definitely a goal for Rtichsheva as well. The U Multicultural Channel would be able to afford a videographer who could go out on location and an in-house editor, she said.
"Everyone has a day job, yet they provide hundreds of hours of volunteer time to get the show produced."
U Multicultural Channel broadcasts through local cable stations in Manitoba, Calgary and metro Vancouver, covering more than 2.4 million people in BC, 1.3 million in Calgary and 750,000 in Winnipeg.
For more information, see www.u-channel.ca
The Sou'wester community journalist
Susie Strachan is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Susie got her first paying job as a journalist in the late '80s on the Free Press Weeklies, then followed that with 20 years as a reporter, photographer and specialty editor at the Winnipeg Free Press. She then spent 10 years working for WAVE magazine with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, before returning to her roots as the reporter/photographer for The Sou’wester.