Chitrakoot (UP): A newspaper which has become the voice of the lower class women in Bundelkhand has been chosen for the prestigious King Sejong Literacy prize instituted by UNESCO.
Run by all-women staff, `Khabar Lahariya’ was launched in the May 2002.
The eight-page Bundeli fortnightly has a circulation of almost 25,000, with a readership that spreads across 400 villages in the Chitrakoot and Banda districts of the state.
The newspaper has been not just disseminating information but is affecting the rate of literacy amongst low caste and tribal women with little hope of education otherwise.
With eight successful years behind it, the newspaper is popular and has changed the lives of many tribal women.
"There are tribal women in our team as well, they are neo literate and they are becoming better and learning more either by reading or while working with our newspaper. Some of them are even working as reporters for us. And our team is overjoyed at winning an international award," said Meera, editor, Khabar Lahiriya.
The reporters of the newspaper are more unconventional than the average. They tend to children and cattle, do household chores, and fend for their living by farming or gathering wood from the forest. But they send stories and information for Khabar Lahiriya.
"There are many women and girls who have not been able to complete their education, for them this newspaper is the only means to stay in touch with education. Many of them work as reporters for the paper, collecting information and sending it," said Kukhi, reporter.
The authorities believe that the newspaper is affecting the inclination toward literacy.
“This newspaper is in the local language, so it is obvious that the local people show interest in it, and because of it, there is a definite inclination towards literacy," said Promod Srivastav, development officer.
UNESCO says that the newspaper has been instrumental in democratising the production of information.