While print media readership is declining in Western countries, it’s rapidly rising in some developing nations like India.
In fact, the newspaper industry is shaping up to be the future for the next generation, with a group of street kids in Gautam Nagar, New Delhi, having created their own newspaper Balaknama (Voice of the children).
This Tuesday, SBS’ Dateline will be airing an episode shot in India, interviewing the ambitious young children behind the publication, that aims to find stories about fellow street kids, and share them to help change their lives.
“The kids who live at the station or the street really don’t have light or easy stories. There is not even a case study that is normal. They are all difficult,” 17-year-old editor Shambu tells Dateline.
“People drive past. Why don’t they help? They are disconnected and don’t care about the world around them. Once they know, maybe then they might help us.”
Balaknama is funded by a charity and reporters, including 16-year-old senior reporter Jyoti, are given a small allowance so they can go to school.
This gateway to education has dramatically changed their lives, becoming a turning point that has saved them from the unfortunate circumstances they previously endured.
“When I was eight-years-old I used to get high [by sniffing a glue used to fix bike tyres] and scavenge and beg,” Jyoti tells Dateline.
“My life could have ended or I could have been married off… If a girl lives at the station, her life is bound to get spoiled.
“I can’t do those things now. I am educated. Balaknama has energised me. I have left the streets and am at a good place in my life.”
SBS reports that “more than two million children like Jyoti and Shambu are living on the streets of India*. Slums are growing by at least a million people every year”.
Watch the moving trailer below, before the episode airs on Tuesday at 9:30pm on SBS.