Neelam Sonali Tirkey has worked as a Words of Hope radio producer for the last 17 years. She writes, records, and produces programs in Hindi, the national language of India.
Born into a Christian family, her father was a pastor, and her mother was a teacher. “I knew Jesus Christ from the beginning,” she says. “I was baptized at one and a half months.”
Referring to her work in radio, “It was my dream,” she says, “and it was God’s calling to me in my heart since childhood.” When she was invited to start working for Words of Hope South Asia, she left behind other plans and joined the team with a resounding “yes!” She had always hoped to find unique employment, and working in radio has certainly fit the bill. “This work is very interesting for me,” she says.
In the beginning, she mostly wrote articles for the station’s ministry magazine and handled office files, but soon she was asked to start writing announcements for the programs as well. Neelam proved to be a natural at this, and progressed to writing health, science, and social issue scripts. She began voicing programs too, and now produces entire programs on her own.
Neelam fills an important void in the South Asian community. She is one of the only female radio producers in the region. “This is a very good opportunity for me,” she says, “because for a long time I had seen that there were no Hindi producers that were female. But Jesus gave me this work. It was by the grace of God that I got this position. Female voices are definitely needed.”
Listeners frequently call in to the station after hearing a program to ask follow-up questions or request prayer. Neelam is able to speak directly with the women who call and give them a safe space in which to engage their faith questions.
“My hope is to share Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, with all of the people in this world who live in darkness and depression,” she says. “There is hope in Jesus Christ.”
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