If one reads the biographies of famous people of the world, one encounters, in their lives, a constant struggle with adversity. They prove the strength of character by overcoming these adversities. Dherminder Balach’s story is somewhat similar. Dherminder is a young journalist who belongs to the Cholistan desert in Pakistan. He received primary education in the village school. In fifth grade, due to his financial circumstances, Dherminder did not have access to notebooks. As a result, the teacher forbade him from entering the classroom. He however, did not give up. Despite all the problems and hurdles, in 2012. Dherminder graduated from Inter taking his degree from Government Khwaja Fareed Postgraduate College.
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In the meantime, the financial situation at home went from bad to worse. When there are seven people to eat and only one to provide, hunger is common. Keeping this situation in mind, Dherminder travelled from Pakistan to Oman in search of employment. There, he faced many problems while working for 80 Rayal as a office and house boy. Twice, the company deducted his salary. Amidst all these problems, he had to both take care of himself and send money back home from this meagre pay. After eight months, he finally resigned and came back to Pakistan: things it seemed, came back full circle.
Dherminder belongs to a literate family. His grandfather was a writer. His father, Preetam Das Balach has been working at the daily express Urdu newspaper in Pakistan--for 15 years as a correspondent. He is also a prominent social worker in the area. He has been involved with various social organizations within the city. Frequently, Dherminder would attend workshops, trainings held by different NGOs with his father. Through this, Dherminder found a way of continuing his education. Over a period of five years, Dherminder accumulated a lot of first hand knowledge of minority, gender and religious rights. He also worked on peace, tolerance and pluralism. For a year, Dherminder also voluntarily taught the children of the village.
Dherminder also began to help his father with reporting. At the time, when internet was not freely available in the area, he had to, at times, cycle 8 KM to deliver reports to the newspaper offices. He helped write many of the reports especially on events of religious minorities in the area.
In 2017, Dherminder received five days training with bytes4all.As a result, Dharmender began working as an active citizen journalist. However, Dherminder neither had a camera nor a smart phone. Thus, it became difficult to create reports properly. He had to rely on renting equipment for the job. Despite this, in the first year alone, he wrote arround to twenty articles for the online newspaper.
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Dherminder work one and half year with pakvoices.pk he faces so many Problems in reporting. When he used to send a report to pakvoices.pk they not reply him soon and did not pay dues at time also when he think his new story is important they did not publish it with so many reasons and reject it. In starting they pay him 4000 a story as the time passed they paid him only 2000 for one story. He thought this is not my platform and he started to established his online media website. He and his friend Wikram Das started working on media website and they became succeed to complete the website. Now he is working at ThePakVoice as a Chief Editor without any restriction and limitations.
Talking to us, Dherminder further said that he’d like to pursue proper education in journalism. However, he does not have the necessary resources to pursue his education. This year, he has taken the exams for a private undergraduate and will continue to study for a masters in journalism. He also said that in Pakistan, journalist eschew their responsibilities for money. As a result, representative news never reaches the newspaper. This is what Dherminder wants to change.
In Pakistan, journalists are seen with suspicion. One day, while reporting on a (Mela) fair, the police arrested Dherminder. They took his camera, asked him multiple questions and after harassing him for an hour, let him go. A girls school building had not been built for two years. While he was investigating it, someone called and threatened to kill Dherminder. He said: 'you're a journalist, stay a journalist. Don't try to fly'.