Devoid of painfully loud anchors and mindless panels with their shoutathons, a quirky news channel discusses pertinent social issues of your city and neighbourhood; all while bringing a smile on your face and being scrappy. The Children’s Scrappy News Service is a makeshift ‘good news’ service run by kids, for kids.
An initiative of the Delhi-based non-profit organisation Going to School, The Children’s Scrappy News Service began as a confidence-building exercise for children that would teach them life skills and engage them in social issues. Lisa Heydlauff, Director and Founder of Going to School describes being scrappy as ‘changing the world with whatever you have. You don’t need to speak English or have top-notch gadgets; you just need to have a head full of ideas.’
The news anchors of this ‘good news’ channel are children like 10-year-old Dheeraj and 12-year-old Valeska, confident, vivacious, and effortless. In tune with professional journalists, they conduct interviews and present ground reports on pertinent subjects like lack of play spaces for children, increasing noise pollution, improper sanitation, and a lot more. With zealous child reporters reporting from Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, ‘Scrappiness’ is leaving its imprint nationally.
The Scrappy Newsroom can be a thatched hut, a tent under a banyan tree, a teepee in the middle of the town, or a bamboo-supported stage. No matter the location, one cannot miss the whirlwind of colours brought by each newsroom, which the children construct themselves using scrap materials.
A repurposed truck, with ‘Be Scrappy’ scrawled all over, entered these children’s slums and localities to invite them for the news anchor auditions. Reporters and anchors from major media houses then trained selected children. As a result of their training sessions, the children developed confidence to speak unfazed by gawking strangers, and the most important lesson, in Valeska’s words, ‘It’s okay to fumble, but not to stop.’
And stop they didn’t!
The Children’s Scrappy News Service does an outstanding job of empowering children, vocalizing their opinions, engaging them in social issues, all of which in turn push the cause of child rights in the right direction.
Our most-liked coverage of the Scrappy team is their ‘In search of a place to play’ series. This series has it all, debates on lack of safe playing spaces in the city, an interview of a girls’ football team from Ranchi, a playground cleanup drive in Haryana, and questioning the presence of a playground for boys but the absence of one for girls.