Street children rise above life's challenges to publish tabl


Staff member
New Delhi: At a time when journalism is courting sensationalism and sleaze, an unassuming four-page tabloid is doing its bit by writing about the trials and tribulations of Delhi's child labourers. And the newspaper staff is particularly qualified to write about the subject — they form a part of this nameless, faceless multitude.

Called Balaknama, this Hindi quarterly is written and edited by homeless children from Badhte Kadam, a group of street and working children. First published in July 2003, this tabloid has come a long way with the help of Chetna, a voluntary organisation working for street children.

"The plight of street and working children was never shown on TV channels and in newspapers. We decided to launch our tabloid to make these children aware of their rights and raise their issues. After a lot of brainstorming, we came up with the name Balaknama for our tabloid," Vijay, 18, national secretary of Badhte Kadam, told IANS.

Vijay, who worked in a CD case manufacturing factory in Delhi, has been involved with the tabloid since 2006. The paper publishes stories about the struggles and achievements of street children in the capital.

There are around 500,000 child labourers in the capital, many of whom live on the streets, activists say.

Vijay and five of his friends from Badhte Kadam don a variety of roles to keep the paper running — from writing stories to speaking to their counterparts all over Delhi about their life stories.

"This is our independent newspaper. We are the ones who decide the content of each edition. Our members from across Delhi meet at one place and discuss the topics to be published in the edition," said Shanno, 17, who works as a maid in Seemapuri.