South Asian Children's Times

 Children's Newspaper Initiative
 (National Children's Times and South Asian Children

Supported & Facilitated by Butterflies

In the year 1996 the members of Bal Mazdoor Union (child workers union), a working and street children's collective in Delhi, India, came out with the idea of publishing their own newspaper, to highlight their concerns that were otherwise neglected by the mainstream media. Thus they facilitated formation of an editorial board comprising of reporters, editors and publisher with children between the age group of 9-16 years and eventually initiated a bimonthly and bilingual (Hindi and English) newspaper, Bal Mazdoor Ki Awaz (Child Workers' Voice).
In the year 2001 the editorial team of Bal Mazdoor Ki Awaz decided to expand their initiative to other parts of the country and in the month of May, 2001 "Workshop on Children's Production of their own Newspaper" was organized with 40 rural and urban children associated with 12 NGOs from 7 states of India . The outcome of this workshop was children from each NGO group started publishing their own bi-monthly (once in two months) newspaper.  

Process of Formation of National Child Journalists Forum (NCJF)
 In February 2002, a follow-up workshop was organized by the editorial team of Bal Mazdoor Ki Awaz to share and learn from each other's experiences and also to discuss the issue "How to take this initiative forward". Child delegates of the follow-up workshop unanimously felt the need to have an identity as journalists and therefore decided to organize themselves into a "Rashtriya Bal Patrakar Manch" -National Child Journalists' Forum (NCJF).
The child journalists from below mentioned regional NGO's were part of the National Child Journalists Forum:
§   Aarambh, Madhya Pradesh
§   Bal Mahila Vikas Samiti, Madhya Pradesh
§    Bal Sakha, Bihar
§   Butterflies , Delhi
§   Garib Nawaz Mahila Avam Bal Kalyan Samiti, Rajasthan
§   Jan Kala Sahitya Manch Sanstha, Rajasthan
§   Kargil Development Project, Jammu & Kashmir
§   Leh Nutrition Project Jammu & Kashmir
§   Mahila Development Centre, Bihar
§   SARJAN-ASAG, Gujarat
§   Secure Future, Jammu & Kashmir
§   Shambhu Nath Singh Research Foundation, Uttar Pradesh
Their objective was to monitor the situation of Children's rights in the country and raise concerned issues through producing their own bi-monthly, bilingual national newspaper-National Children's Times (NCT) .  It was also decided that reporters and editors would be street and working children between the age of 9 to 16 years. In that workshop they also sought help of Butterflies to support their idea. Butterflies assured the child journalists and supported the publication of National Children's Times.
In the year 2003, NCJF was consolidated. First issue of "National Children's Times" was launched during 4th World Social Forum-Mumbai, India, in January-04 and 10,000 copies (5000 Hindi and 5000 English copies) of NCT reached out to children, adults and NGOs of various parts of India and abroad .Since then it is being published and distributed regularly with some exceptions.  

From National to International: Journey of South Asian Children's Times
 The National Children's Times has further widened its horizons into South Asian Children's Times with partners joining in from the South Asian region. Butterflies with support from SARI/Equity have taken its newspaper initiative to the South Asian countries.
Butterflies with the support from SARI/Q organized South Asia Regional Training Workshop on the production of children's own newspaper from 26th April to 2nd May 2005 in New Delhi-India. The child representatives attended this workshop from the following grassroot NGO's of South Asian region:
§                      Afghanistan (Aschiana)
§                      Pakistan (Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization)
§                      Bangladesh (Aparajeyo)
§                      Nepal (Concern)
§                      Nepal (Child Welfare Scheme)
§                      Sri Lanka (Kantha Shakti)
From India, child representatives came from the following grassroot NGO's:
§                     Jeeva Jyothi, Tamil Nadu (New)
§                     Mayurbhanj Joint Citizen Centre, West Bengal (New)
§                     Mahila Development Centre, Bihar
§                     Leh Nutrition Project, Jammu and Kashmir
§                     Butterflies, Delhi
The training workshop for children and adult facilitators organized in April 2005 was intended to build capacity of children on journalistic skills, print media and had the inbuilt phenomena of practical experience by producing the first issue of South Asian Children’s Times by the end of the workshop- the first ever-regional Children’s newspaper. The workshop gave the participants an insight into technical aspects of print media and journalism. The training programme curriculum also included an exposure visit to news printing press at Hindustan Times a mainstream daily newspaper of New Delhi, India. At the end of that training workshop, child participants formed " South Asian Alliance of Children for Child Rights" at the regional level which is an effort to bring together children from these countries and facilitate a children's collective to monitor their rights in the region by means of their own newspaper- South Asian Children's Times (SACT). 
 After the initial training workshop the participants on reaching their respective areas implemented the journalistic skills shared during the workshop.
On 1st and 2nd December 2005, Butterflies with the support from SARI/Q organized the South Asia Regional Follow up Training Workshop for Children on Journalism and Print Media in Chennai, India. The workshop was attended by children and adult facilitators from the following grassroot organization:
§                      Afghanistan (Aschiana)
§                      Nepal (Concern)
§                      Nepal (Child Welfare Scheme)
§                      Sri Lanka (Kantha Shakti)
From India, child representatives came from the following grassroot NGO's:
§                     Jeeva Jyothi, Tamil Nadu
§                     Mayurbhanj Joint Citizen Centre, West Bengal
§                     Mahila Development Centre, Bihar
§                     Leh Nutrition Project, Jammu and Kashmir
§                     Butterflies, Delhi
§                     Butterflies, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The follow up to the First South Asian Regional Training Workshop organized in was based on sharing the experiences of children from all the South Asian countries towards the production of their own newspaper. It indicated the progress made by each partner; the problems faced by them and learn lessons from each other. The workshop proved to be a platform whereby all partners made an introspective study of the newspaper initiative in their respective region and came out with ways to take the initiative forward. The workshop also focused on strengthening the skills to understand the technical aspects of media and journalism. Children were trained in the technicalities of print media and journalism with practical experiences of writing analytical, objective articles. To make South Asian Children’s Times truly a voice of children ways to motivate and involve as many children from their respective area/ village/district/city in the production process of your newspaper was also discussed. Children also came out with innovative ways and methods for raising funds for the initiation and sustenance of the national newspaper.
Child journalists from South Asia publish SACT once in four months and all the issues are published in six regional languages (Hindi, Bangla, Singhala, Nepali, Pushto and Urdu) and one universal language i.e. English. Till now children have been successful in printing three issues of SACT that has been translated in all the seven languages.
South Asian Children's Times lends a voice to children for expressing their ideas, opinions and views on issues of their concern and thus putting their perspectives to the adult world.. It is an initiative of children in collating information, writing, editing and publishing on behalf of "South Asian alliance of Children for Child Rights".



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