Indian newspaper created and run by street children

Indian street kids are putting out their own newspaper to raise awareness of the injustices they face every day.

Balaknama means "the voice of the children" and it really is - some of the reporters are as young as seven, while the editor is only 16.

Children who live and work on the streets are a common sight across India. They might look happy, but most have a horrific story to tell.

At the age of 12 Shanno started reporting on the plight of Indian street kids. Now at 16, she's the editor of the monthly newspaper, Balaknama.

"All children are involved with child labour and child marriage; they don't get respect by the public and police," she said.

Police brutality, exploitation and rape are common for street kids. Most of the crimes go unnoticed, but Shanno and her team of young reporters are trying to change that.

"Many children live at the railway tracks... Kids as young as seven are forced by police to remove dead bodies from the tracks," she said.

In Balaknama's latest issue they write about a young boy who was raped in the open, in broad daylight, by a group of men; a girl forced to work instead of going to school to pay for her father's alcohol; while another is forced into marrying two men.

Shanno and her reporters hold weekly editorial meetings where they plan content for their eight-page paper. They also hold support groups for young children willing to come forward with stories.

Sixteen-year-old Jyoti became a journalist after witnessing so much brutality on the streets.

"I see many problems happening on the streets. I connect with children and tell their stories," she said.

Her family home is a concrete slab on the side of the motorway. She's one of the paper's lead reporters.

"I want to help the children through Balaknama. They have the right to a dignified life," she said.

And while Balaknama has been able to help some children, the staff hope one day their newspaper will be read by everyone and that child exploitation will be considered important enough to talk about outside of their community.