The Indian newspaper giving street children a voice

Reporters Deepak and Joti examine an early edition of Balaknama, a newspaper by street children in Delhi.

New Delhi (CNN)Shambhu's days start early.

At 6 a.m., he leaves his house in a slum in western New Delhi and heads to a more affluent area where he washes cars for three hours, for which he earns about $50 a month.
After a morning of work, he heads to a learning center to study for a few hours. Most 17-year-olds would probably be at school all day, but circumstances have dictated otherwise for Shambhu, who goes by only one name.
    He is from Biraul, a village in Bihar, one of India's poorest states. When he was 9, he moved to the capital to help his father serve cucumbers.
    In Biraul, Shambhu attended a government school, but "it was useless, we didn't learn anything," he said.
    It wasn't until he began going to the learning center in Delhi that he learned to read and write.
    He also discovered what has become a major passion of his -- journalism. Through the learning center, he heard about Balaknama, a newspaper run by street children.
    Shambhu still washes cars every morning to help his family earn a living.

    Speaking out

    Balaknama means "voice of the children" in Hindi. Shambhu, a lanky, bright-eyed teenager, is its editor.
    "Earlier the people here just knew me as 'Shambhu the boy who washes my car' but since they learned about Balaknama, the lady who lives here, the doctor who lives above, they all call me 'editor sir'," he told CNN in the newspaper's offices.
    "Every month, when we publish a new edition of the newspaper, I distribute it to all the houses here and a lot of people also donate money."
    The paper is priced at a nominal 5 rupees, less than 10 cents, but is mainly given out for free at police stations and through NGOs working with street children.
    Circulation stands at about 8,000, the bulk of which is the Hindi edition, according to Sanjay Gupta, director of Childhood Enhancement Through Training and Action (CHETNA), an NGO set up in 2002 that funds the newspaper.
    "When we first started Balaknama, CHETNA would offer guidance as well as financial support, but now it is run independently by the children. Today, we are just the mentor organization, we provide encouragement, funding and our team translates the Hindi edition into English," said Gupta.
    In recent months, they have also started publishing articles to over 5,000 readers via WhatsApp and email.