Dalit Sangh is a non-profit civil society organisation that has been working for empowerment of Dalit communities in Madhya Pradesh for the last 27 years. For the last 7 years the organisation has been running a project called Bachho ki Pahal under which the NGO has trained children from the Dalit communities in the Sohagpur block in Hoshangabad district to become child journalists and produce a monthly newsletter.
These child journalists have been trained to report on and write about issues relevant to socially and economically deprived communities like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, women, poverty and people with disabilities. The newsletter represents the voice of empowerment and through this medium Dalit children focus on education, health and safety of children in their respective areas to advocate with and highlight relevant issues to the local administration.
The project received appreciation from the Late former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who met some of these child reporters and mentioned them in his autobiography “Target 3 Billion”.
So far, Dalit Sangh has trained 340 child journalists among which 70% are girls. These child journalists have their own editorial board and do their own reporting, news scrutiny, editing and publishing using digital tools. The child journalists are well known among their villages, panchayats, primary health centres, health workers, police stations, doctors, schools and local journalists of renowned newspapers. Dalit Sangh has worked continuously with children in developing their capacities to deal with different issues. Workshops and seminars are organised frequently at different levels to bring all the stakeholders together.
The organisation is now planning to expand the operations of the newsletter across Hoshangabad district and other districts of Madhya Pradesh such as Harda, Guna, Morena, Mandla, Bhopal, Chindwara, Betul, Narsinghpur and Raisen to empower children.