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Street children get their own writing space

delhi Updated: May 10, 2011 01:20 IST

These days, an unassuming four-page tabloid has become a subject of interest for doing its bit by writing about the trials and tribulations of Delhi's child labourers. And the newspaper staff is particularly qualified to write on the subject for they form a part of this multitude.

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

"The plight of street children was never reflected by TV channels or by newspapers. We decided to launch this tabloid to make these children aware of their rights and raise their issues," said 18-year-old Vijay, the national secretary of Badhte Kadam. Vijay used to work in a CD case manufacturing unit in Delhi.

There are around 5,00,000 child labourers in the capital, many of whom live on the streets, say activists.

"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.

Formed in 2002 in Delhi with 35 children, Badhte Kadam now has 10,000 members spread across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The paper has a circulation of around 3,500, mainly among NGOs in Delhi, and is priced at Rs1.