National Child Reporters Meet
Shubhalika Baruwah from Assam… Anup from Uttar Pradesh… Beauty from Bihar.. Satyanarayan from Andhra Pradesh… Bhavesh from Gujarat… Aruna Chatterjee from Delhi…
The children marched up take their place on the dais. Confident in their stance. Comfortable in their role as chief guests.
Meet the Child Reporters….
Children from villages and districts across the country gathered at Gandhi Darshan for the first ever National Child Reporters Meet, November 19th to 21st 2007.
Language was no barrier.. a sprinkling of English, a dash of Hindi mixed with Assamese, Telegu and Kannada the children made sure that their voices were heard.
Aruna Chatterjee, an ex child reporter and coordinator of ‘The Yamuna’ the children’s magazine brought out by Gandhi Darshan gave the welcome speech recalling her first experiences as a child reporter and the tremendous change it has brought in her life.
12 year old Anup from Lalitpur was refreshingly candid. He considered himself ‘ignorant about many things like all other children attending school’. It’s only when he became a child reporter that he became aware of many issues such as hand washing. Today he proudly states, out of 150 families in their village 120 wash their hands with soap.
For Satyanarayan from Andhra Pradesh preventing 37 child marriages was the biggest achievement of child reporters.
“I am first an activist. I do and then I write” states Beauty from Bihar. One of the senior member of the Child Reporters from Bihar, she spoke about the Bal Sansad held in the Bihar Legislative Assembly hall once every year and the confidence it has given the children. “Most of the children leading the Bal Sansad one year were Bal Panchayat leaders the next year.” she said.
Prior to the inauguration, the children had an informal ‘getting to know each other’ session. So 17 year old Moumita from Chattisgarh interviewed 11 year old Nileshwari from Gujarat and 11 year old Madhu from Lalitipur spoke with 13 year old Poonam from Chandigarh. While they didn’t find a consensus on their favorite actor or film, most children found that they were addressing similar concerns such as child marriage, fighting addictions, child labour and promoting hand washing amongst their communities.
Augustine Veliath Communications Officer from UNICEF giving a perspective to the occasion said, “This Meet is an opportunity for child reporters from different states to meet each other, share experiences and learn from each other.”
Savita Singh, Director, Gandhi Samiti Darshan Samiti summed up “Peace is possible in today’s world when there are equal opportunities for all, when development benefits percolate down to the grassroots levels. The child reporters’ initiative is a wonderful way of making children and families aware of their rights.”
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