Tackling big problems with young minds

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SOUMYABRATA GUPTA
Published Nov 13, 2017, 4:07 pm IST
Updated Nov 13, 2017, 4:07 pm IST
With discussions on a range of problems, young anchors invite guests into the newsroom to discuss on their red couch.
It is an original, made in India show, where in an hour-long format, each show takes on a new problem that’s important to kids.
 It is an original, made in India show, where in an hour-long format, each show takes on a new problem that’s important to kids.

To be launched on November 14, The Children’s Scrappy News Service is a makeshift news service, a news-talk-game show run by two kids and a robot called Scrappy, taking on India’s biggest problems and solving them.

It is an original, made in India show, where in an hour-long format, each show takes on a new problem that’s important to kids.

With problems ranging from, a dearth of places for activity to the abundance of plastic in oceans, young anchors invite guests into the newsroom to discuss on their red couch: electricians, plumbers, entrepreneurs, parents.

Lisa Heydlauff, CEO and founder of Children Scrappy News Service and Going to School talks to us about the programme, and her future plans.

Scrappy News ServiceScrappy News Service

What made you start the Scrappy News Service?

We had been teaching children skills at school through stories for a while and we realized the problem was that no matter what we did to get parents attention, sending notes home, running radio shows, well, we realized that parents still did not know what was happening at school that was new and good.

At the same time, we also ran the numbers and realized that young people who are in school today, Grade 8, 9, that we’re not sure how many jobs will be when they complete Grade 12, so we wanted to celebrate ‘choosing’ to be an entrepreneur to be an option, we wanted to make entrepreneurs into action-heroes.

The Children’s Scrappy News Service does both, because it’s wacky, fun, silly, made by children for children in local communities parents know about it, they come out and watch it being made, they are guests in the newsroom and in the children’s studio audience.

And it’s entrepreneurs who children often find and interview to find solutions to the problems they want to solve - waste, water, climate change - so Scrappy does three things, it gives children a platform to learn skills, it’s something parents enjoy watching and it features entrepreneurs who are making the world a more equitable place for us all, especially children.

Scrappy News ServiceScrappy News Service

What is Scrappy News service USP ?

To be Scrappy. For us ‘Scrappy’ means to change the world with whatever you’ve got, anyone can be scrappy, you don’t have to speak English or be online, it’s about doing whatever you can, wherever you are. Scrappy is stuff anyone can do. And that’s our USP. There’s never before been a children’s scrappy news service, nor a ‘scrappy’ news service of any kind, you can power a scrappy news service anywhere, all you need is junk and once-loved-things - we all have that, don’t we?

Why did you choose children for Scrappy News Service? Why not adults?

Because we’ve always made stories for, and believed in the potential of children.

Its children who are growing up in a messy world. Its children who can find solutions and start a revolution to change everything. Children influence their families, children’s only intent is to make the world a better place for everyone.

Scrappy News ServiceScrappy News Service

Are you doing something with animals too?

Children love animals, and so do we. We have two rescued street dogs, Isadora and Viola, who are in the TV show, Isadora is our mascot, and Viola just joined the team :) We have a show in the first 13 called ‘Dogs with jobs’ it’s about all the amazing jobs can do, so we love animals, and they are part of the show, they are part of it because they are important to children and growing up in a balanced, equitable world where there’s scrappy space for everyone and everything.

 

How is the news service going to be different?

It’s all good news. It’s Scrappy. It’s about what you can do to change things. Every show has a simple call to action, something you can do. It’s made by kids for kids. It’s perennial: Why is there no place to play? Let’s learn how to swim! Grandparents crossing the road! Let’s get every dog a job! Recycle everything.

What are the challenges that you are facing?

To get original children’s content made in India celebrated across mainstream, prime-time platforms.

Lisa Heydlauff, CEO and founder of Children Scrappy News Service and Going to SchoolLisa Heydlauff, CEO and founder of Children Scrappy News Service and Going to School

What is the five-year plan?

To connect kids around the world around what they care about #noplasticintheocean and so much more. The Children’s Scrappy News Service next goes to Mexico, and South America, to new countries in South Asia, Sri Lanka, and to countries in Africa, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda - all the while connecting back to kids in India who started this - and then to Europe and the USA, and hopefully to Davos, with a newsroom made of junk and once-loved-things, putting kids voices on the global agenda to change what and how children learn, and enabling children who are offline, to lead and change the world for everyone.

What next for you?

The Children’s Scrappy News Service global, on air, on the ground, online, a global children’s revolution to change everything, now.





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