Community Correspondents

Anita Oraon

When I was in class 3, my father died. This was a turning point in my life. He used to drive a rickshaw and earn well by the standards of our community. He could afford to send me to a private school. But after he died, everything went downhill. I dropped out of school. Then, one year later, the teachers from the school visited my home and made sure I started attending again. When I wanted to take admission to class 6, I did not have money for the fees. I sold saag in the bazaar for a week and paid those fees. For admission to class 9, I earned money the same way by selling hadia. But after that, I was married off by my mother. She was in a hurry to marry me off because my brother and his wife did not treat me well. So, I moved to my in-laws and that's where I gave my class 10th exam. But life didn't become any easier. My husband's family made me work in a brick kiln near Kanpur for the first six months after my marriage. Then, when I was back in the village, we found out that an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) would be recruited from my village. 10 candidates applied for the post. There was a test and then I was selected. Thankfully, I can now earn a little bit because of my work as an ASHA. Because I am an ASHA and active with the Mahila Vikas Mandal, I work both at home and for the community. I wake up at 04:00 am sharp. After my own household chores, I step out to the field for household visits and so on. But I return home to cook lunch, wash utensils, and so on. My village self help group has monthly meetings of women. We prioritize BPL and widow pension lists on behalf of the village. My village has a population of 1063 people, all of whom are adivasis. What I like best about my village and community is that we don't consider anyone small, we don't have any degrading practices like untouchability. Everybody is treated as equal. But I don't like how the people of my village drink so much alcohol. Then they fight and break up houses. Under-age children drink and then pick fights and tease women! It is up to us women to put an end to this evil of drinking. To tell you the truth, I have no access to the media at all. There is no TV in my house and newspapers are not delivered to our village. In my experience, only people with good salaried jobs watch TV and read the newspapers. I first heard of VV from Mariam Toppo [Jharkhand CC] who is also a sahiyya (ASHA) like me. Then, two months ago, a team from VV visited my village. Anand was there, Nirmaladi was there, Stalin was there. I told them that I want to become a Community Correspondent and solve the problems of everybody in my village – from the young to the old. I want to begin by doing something about my village school. There aren't enough classrooms in the school and the quality of teaching suffers because of that. I hope to make a video and get more classrooms built.

Videos from Anita

Bribed but denied – 50 elders of Jharkhand village without pension, ration

/ April 29, 2016

Deocharan Manjhi, an old man in a village in Jharkhand struggles to survive but his struggle isn’t so much as physical, as much as fighting for a dignified survival. It has been many years since Manjhi has been unsuccessful in applying for the old age Pension Scheme to get his...