When I was doing my graduation, the popular Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan came up with the Student Reporter Programme. Though I was very much interested in writing I wasn't enthusiastic about being a 'reporter' as I thought it would affect my academic course!
But after 12 years my own child studying in class 3 was writing single page reports whenever he came across something interesting. He was writing in bits of papers with his pencil and was throwing them all over the living room. I accidentally saw his 'report' on an imaginary cricket match, after he saw a lively match on the television. This really opened my eyes, I should say.
Then we moved to Bombay on transfer; but the writing of young children was popping in my mind now and then. It was a dream come true when the kids in our building were introduced to the scribble magazine. The magazine saw eleven monthly issues and then came our transfer back to Madras.
When www.yocee.in was up, the first idea sparked in my mind was the 'student reporter programme'. I had to give a year to set right a few technical issues as to how the bylines would appear on the website, how do we assign jobs to the reporters, how do the reports and photos could be collected and how do the reporters meet periodically to train and get better. . .
There are still a few issues, which we still face - like - meeting the kid reporters at regular intervals is next to impossible as any six kids in the group would invariably have one or the other exam. We are still scratching our minds to find ways to overcome this and have meetings.
Simple, we could meet in small groups, you may think. But hiring a hall for such small meetings is costly and remember YOCee is yet to break even.
Still when the programme that started as passion to see kids writing is being recognised, it makes me feel happy and proud.
This is what appeared in yesterday's Times of India.