Mary-Ann Ochota and Director Suzie Samant
meet Delhi's remarkable young reporters who run the only newspaper written for
and by street children in India.
Mary-Ann Ochota and Director Suzie Samant meet Delhi's remarkable young reporters who run the only newspaper written for and by street children in India.
The team meets Vijay Kumar, who is 18 and the Chief Reporter for Balaknama – or “Children’s voice”. He joined the paper after being encouraged to learn to read and write by his mum, and in the process has transformed himself from child delinquent to campaigning journalist. Vijay tells Ochota that he wants to give power to children whose stories don’t get told and who wouldn’t trust reporters from mainstream publications. “A child talks to us because we’ve also lived this life,” he says.
One of the articles Vijay wants to write is about why street kids don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else. An issue he’s keen to explore is the barriers faced by those children who don’t have official ID – such as being refused admission to schools which could provide an escape from a life on the streets. “In the eyes of the government they don’t exist,” he tells Ochota. “These children are like ghosts.”
The Unreported World team attends Vijay’s editorial with his reporters - slum children from across Delhi. The story ideas for the next edition come straight from their personal experience, for example recent beatings by police or homes being flooded.
On the other side of the city, in the Sunder Nagari slum, the team meet Vijay’s closest colleague, Shanno, the Editor of Children’s Voice. Shanno worked in a garment factory from the age of 11 until she joined the newspaper and has worked her way up to editing it.
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