Students pioneer radio reporting in Medak
Courtesy –Times of India, Hyderabad
Sangareddy – July 4th, 2007
T. Amarender may pass off as just another class X student from a government school in Wargal mandal of Medak district, but come Sunday, the entire district will be listening to him.
For, he is one of the 35 children of Medak trained to be the new breed of radio reporters under the ‘Samishti’ project, coordinated by the district administration, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Medak Voluntary Agencies Network (MEDVAN).
These 35 radio reporters were divided into 12 groups and given digital recorders to go around in their neighborhood recording changes that are taking place. Each group has since come up with programmes on one of the 16 identified indicators for a better society like sanitation, use of iodized salt, immunization of newborns, intake of vitamin A among children, primary education for all and others.
The classes XI and X students were trained by All India Radio professionals during the summer vacation. Their radio show, launched in Sangareddy on Wednesday, would be aired from 7.45 pm to 8.15 pm every Sunday on AIR’s Vividha Bharathi.
All these children, since last year, have been bringing out a tri-monthly newsletter also called ‘Samishti’ by documenting success stories of child workers going back to school. “We write our own scripts on a topic we want to discuss in the day’s show and then go out to collect interviews and sound bytes from people to insert in the story,” Amarender said. His group is called ‘Teresa’ named after Mother Teresa and has done programmes on the need for breastfeeding and cleanliness.
“Initially, people did not take us seriously when we went seeking an interview. But, there were village volunteers — adults on the project — who accompanied us and explained people what we were trying to do to the society, then we were readily accepted,” K Satyanarayana from Kaudipalli mandal narrated.
“The whole idea is to make children aware of problems in the society. By making them reporters, we not only teach them the best practices to uplift the district, but also make them better persons — parents and adults — when they grow up,” Medak district collector B Venkatesham said.
UNICEF Representative for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Mr. Michel Saint-Lot said the children’s naiveté in several matters would actually make it easier for them to ask questions. “They can boldly ask anyone any question about the nonfunctioning or misuse of resources without getting intimidated as adults do,” he added.
Another reason for roping in children to spread the message of better and healthy living in the district was because students talk and open up to each other and are able to identify problems that need to be addressed.
A point, one of the students Satyanarayana proved. “My family received a wedding invitation from our neighbours. When I read it, I found that the bride was our playmate and was much younger to me. I alerted the village volunteers of the ‘Samishti’ project. We were able to convince her parents to stop the marriage,” he said.