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A Way Home Together: Stories of the Human Journey

Miranda Shafer

A Way Home Together uses the informal and intimate medium of podcasting to tell personal stories of people on the move, including migrants, refugees and those who have been deeply affected by different cultures. These are stories of the human journey. This is produced for the International Organization for Migration and is part of the TOGETHER campaign.

TOGETHER is a United Nations campaign that promotes respect safety and dignity for migrants and refugees. Launched in September 2016, its aim is to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination.

The "How Do We Fix It?" Podcast

Miranda Shafer

“How Do We Fix It?” is a production of Davies Content. The podcast focuses on solutions to problems large and small—everything from politics and policy to credit-card debt. 

The show is hosted by Richard Davies (ABC News) and Jim Meigs (the former editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics).

As a producer I provide the following skills:

  • Contribute and research ideas for every aspect of the podcast
  • Edit and score each episode    
  • Prepare hosts to interview guests
  • Identify and pre-interview potential interview subjects
  • Build website and produce content for the site
  • Serve as a liaison between the host and the studio

 

Mother: A Podcast, Episode No. 7: "Just Show Up"

Miranda Shafer

Why is it so hard to talk about miscarriages and stillbirths? They are universal phenomenons, but they remain taboo subjects. 

I produced this piece, with help from Amy Gastelum and Anne Noyes Saini, about my sister's stillbirth for Mother: A Podcast.

If you would like more information about a community that can help you with your loss, contact Reconceiving Loss.

Feet in 2 Worlds: "Maria Cano and Auria Abraham: Creating a Legacy for the Next Generation"

Miranda Shafer

I produced this story for Feet in 2 Worlds. You can hear the original story here.

This summer Maria Cano (aka the Arepa Lady) moved her thriving Colombian street-food business into a storefront in Queens, N.Y., her first brick-and-mortar restaurant. For Cano, 70, it was a measure of hard-won success after selling arepas (cornmeal “pancakes”) from a street cart for more than two decades.

For Auria Abraham, 45, success has come more quickly—she launched her Malaysian sambal business last summer, after working as a jingle producer in the advertising industry for more than a decade. Her unapologetically spicy condiment is already on store shelves throughout New York City, and plans for new products are in the works.

Speaking through a translator, the two women note the importance of using their food businesses to create a legacy—both cultural and financial—for their children.

“It’s been a lot of hard work but it feels very good,” Cano tells Abraham. “The thing that feels the best is to have my kids involved and see them accomplish so much. They picked up the flag and they’re carrying my business.”

See what happens when you bring together female food entrepreneurs from different generations and different ethnic backgrounds to talk about food, business, and flavor.

Audio produced by Miranda Shafer. Translation by Natalia Perlaza. Photos by Lily Chin.

Feet in 2 Worlds: "What I Carried, Vol. 2: The Family Milkshake Machine"

Miranda Shafer

I produced this story as part of "What I Carried," a project created by Feet in 2 Worlds to explore immigration to the U.S. through objects that symbolize migration.

Adam Klein 33 but he could be mistaken for a college student. He is tall and angular. Although his apartment is warm and inviting it is also spare.

In New York City space is limited, and even kitchen appliances have to be ready to multitask, but Adam's 15 pound milkshake machine only does one thing. It makes milkshakes. Despite the fact that it is awkward and heavy, Adam has brought the antique appliance with him each time he has moved (7 times) in the past 15 years.

“This isn’t the kind of thing I can put in a box with other things. It’s always been something that I’ve had to carry by hand in a taxi or a car; I don’t trust movers.”

So why does Adam carry it with him? His family lost everything once; maybe that’s why he understands the importance of the things that make life sweet.

 

Feet in 2 Worlds: “Karen Tappin: Living a Version of the American Dream”

Miranda Shafer

Karen's story is part of a larger project (by Feet in 2 Worlds) about immigrant business owners and the American Dream. This story was published in April 2014.  

"At the time I didn't think much of it, but I realize now that [my mother] just sort of expected me to be great."—Karen Tappin

Karen Tappin started producing her line of natural hair-care and skin products in her kitchen while working as a high-school history teacher; today, her products, Karen's Body Beautiful are sold nationwide at Target.

Tappin's parents are from Guyana. She got a head start on her entrepreneurial career when her mother asked her, at age 15, to help with the home health-aide agency that she was starting. Karen did all of the research, footwork and paperwork while her mom was at work. The experience gave her the confidence to start her own business in college (preparing care packages) and later Karen's Body Beautiful.

 

 

A Matchmaker for Extraordinary People

Miranda Shafer

Have you ever wondered what a matchmaker does? I did, so I interviewed Amy Van Doran.  Everything about Amy is colorful, from her hair to her clothing to her personality. Her dating advice will surprise you, and so will her story about how she became a matchmaker for (as she puts it) extraordinary people.

Feet in 2 Worlds Podcast: "How to Wear Your Hair? A Potent Question for African & Caribbean Immigrant Women"

Miranda Shafer

I produced this story for Feet in 2 Worlds. You can hear the original story here

I produced this podcast about the natural hair movement in the West African and Caribbean immigrant community with Sally Nnamani and John Rudolph. I  provided research, field recording and audio editing. Together we visited hair salons and homes of women who told us how their hair affects their lives, their sense of self and their wallets. 

Sally is originally from Nigeria; she knows firsthand the pressure new immigrants face. Sally left Nigeria when she was 12, and when her parents told her that they were moving to the United States, her mother said, “You girls are going to have to get your hair done!” Many of our interviewees had similar stories: Straight hair is equated with “putting your best face forward,” having confidence and being beautiful. 

According to Mintel (a market research group), in 2012 the black hair-care industry brought in an estimated $684 million, and by 2017 that number is projected to rise to $761 million. Mintel stipulated that the 2012 figure does not include general market brands, weaves, extensions, wigs, independent beauty-supply stores, distributors, e-commerce, styling tools and appliances. If all of those things were taken into consideration, the $684 million in expenditures could reach a half-trillion dollars.

Despite the massive size of the industry, this story reveals how personal a topic this is for the women of these communities.