In circulation since 2003, the eight-page tabloid covers seven cities and has become part of the lives of around ten thousand street kids.
Balaknama has not only made the street children independent & aware of their rights. its a tabloid run by street children. @MadisonMondell— subhi madan (@subhi_madan) July 25, 2016
This is our workplace @balaknama1. Our journey not that easy. It took us 13 years to establish Balaknama newspaper pic.twitter.com/mUXybmP7ts — balaknama (@balaknama1) September 14, 2016Since its inception, Balaknama has been edited by volunteers of Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action (Chetna), a NGO which works with street children and children forced into work by their circumstances. Chetna is a public charitable trust that was founded in 2002, when it helped form a federation of street children called Badhte Kadam (Stepping Forward). The following year the NGO organised a workshop for street and working children where participants concluded that they had all suffered abuse and neglect, but had always lacked a voice to amplify their problems. writes about how the newspaper binds together the street kids who work on the stories:
Together they work on stories that only a child living on street can find and report. The newspaper binds them and supports them.Nearly all children involved in Balaknama are students of National Open School centres run by the NGO. [youtube id="p5BCKmSWSkM"]
RT MinistryWCD: #Balaknama, set up in 2003, is a monthly newspaper run by street children.… pic.twitter.com/OrlYdVp4UX pic.twitter.com/fTbuW1LTJc — Swapnil Pathre (@iSwapnilpathre) May 9, 2016They have an editorial meeting twice a month to discuss what stories will be published. Arijit Bose provides more information on Balaknama in his blog:
Each paper is priced at a token 2 rupees and over 8,000 copies, most of them in Hindi, are published every month. The paper makes no profit and is entirely NGO-funded.The paper's ex-editor Chandni was studying for her class 10 examination when she spoke at a TEDx event in Bangalore last year. She received a standing ovation following her 18-minute speech on how the newspaper had shaped her life. [youtube id="qBAL3ruq4b0"] Many of the children who tell their stories for Balaknama are rubbish collectors or do odd jobs at roadside cafes, bus stations, and railway stations. The paper visits them at their workplaces to listen and collect their stories.