Volunteers give voice to slum children in India
17 August 2004
South Delhi: In the slums of South Delhi in India, 20 street children were taught how to write news articles, analyze their communities’ problems and to view the media with a critical eye by four student volunteers.
The result was Udayachal, the children’s own newspaper highlighting the problems of urban poor communities and the views of children in issues such as violence in television.
"We decided to teach them basics of news reporting, how to write feature articles and conduct interview", says Priyanka Gulati, a Journalism student.
The paper did not only give the children skills, it also enabled them to gain more confidence. "Many of the girls were not even allowed to interact and there were no opportunities for them. Now things are changing," added Tanvi Saxena, another volunteer.
“Udayachal is not just meant to be a newspaper,” says Jyoti, the associate editor, “we hope to initiate community action through this. We hope to create awareness on issues such as sanitation and cleanliness in our locality through Udayachal."
According to Sneha Saksena, one of the student volunteers, working for Udayachal has ensured that the children are now more confident when they started.
The community newspaper is part of Gandhi Smriti’s Gandhi Media Literacy Programme to commemorate the centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian Opinion.