Community Correspondents

Nirmala Jyoti Ekka


Nirmala Jyoti Ekka is an activist for women’s rights and a confidante for many marginalised populations in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state where she works for the urban dispossessed. 

Nirmala Jyoti Ekka was a housewife taking care of her three children and husband, when she got involved with Video Volunteers in 2012. Today, five years later, Nirmala is an activist for women’s rights and a confidante for many marginalised populations in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state where she works for the urban dispossessed. As Ranchi sees unprecedented growth, the rights of the people living on the margins are in the danger of being trampled. But the most vulnerable, she says, are the women.

Nirmala joined Video Volunteers with the single-minded goal of documenting how rapid urbanisation brings up a whole new set of challenges for women. With a smiling demeanor and a camera in hand, she has been constantly working to highlight their various problems - from trafficking, sexual violence, lack of maternal health and child care facilities, infrastructure, and the non-implementation of various government schemes.

“Earlier, I was just another woman who scouted for work as a household help. But now, I am one of the voices of disadvantaged women and men of my community. My videos are tools that fight inequality and deprivation,” says Nirmala proudly. She has repeatedly stood up to cover stories of gender violence and fought to bring justice to the victims. In one particularly harrowing story Nirmala reported the rape of a minor, and she was successful in making sure that the family of the child got proper legal aid. It was her resolute, patient approach with the child's family that gave them courage to pursue the legal battle. Her documentation of the cruel and unbelievable practice of witch-hunting in the hinterlands of Jharkhand shows how vulnerable women, accused of witchcraft, are tortured and bludgeoned to death, due to lack of education and healthcare, and prevalence of superstitions. The testimonies she has recorded also shows the failure of laws to protect these women from such a fate.

Nirmala is also a part of Video Volunteers' campaign #KhelBadal to dismantle patriarchy. The campaign is taking on patriarchy through stories of women and men who face, negotiate and challenge patriarchy in everyday life — at home, at work, at school, in cultural and public spaces. Under the campaign she makes films that capture the nuances of routine, normalised gender discrimination, stories of change and runs Gender Discussion Clubs where lively, introspective conversations around gender equality and patriarchy happen.

Videos from Nirmala

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Delayed Payments Dampen Health Workers’ Motivation

/ May 16, 2018

Frontline health workers, especially ASHA workers, literally spell hope for millions in rural India, but the government does little to keep them incentivised.

Impact Story

Impact: Accused in Jharkhand Witch Hunting Case Arrested

/ October 9, 2017

Tireless efforts from Correspondent Nirmala Ekka and AALI have forced the officials to take action.

Ailing Art of Jharkhand Needs Urgent Revival

/ March 20, 2017

The artisans of Jharkhand were on their way to script a success story thanks to a government initiative Jharcraft. But then in 2014, they lost a good leader, and then the government's support.

Maternal Health at Risk : No Frontline Health Workers or Ambulances

/ August 3, 2015

3rd August, 2015 | Hesatu village, Ranchi district, Jharkhand | Nirmala Ekka Pregnant women and children do not receive vaccinations and nutrition on a regular basis due the absence of a designated anganwadi sevika (attendant) for the village. A sevika from the neighbouring village visits Hesatu, however, women say that...

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The Pink Auto service : The Story of a woman Auto Driver in Small Town...

/ December 13, 2016

Shanti Lakra confidently zooms through the streets of Ranchi, negotiating the pot holes, traffic and surprised onlookers in her pink auto rickshaw. Her passengers, only females, feel comfortable in her auto, happily chatting with her about their daily lives, discussing the latest films, asking Shanti about her unusual profession as...

7 widows from one village still don’t receive their pensions

/ December 13, 2016

Seven widows, all hailing from a village in Jharkhand called Kanke, have not received their Widow Pension for years. Despite representations to the Block Development Officer in charge of their village. Hear Sameda Khatun’s sad story. She was widowed at the young age of 32 in 2003. Fortunately her son...

Ramzan Ansari has no place under the Prime Minister’s Rural Housing Scheme

/ November 9, 2016

Imagine living in a house with its’ tile roof all caved in, hardly any shelter from the seasons or the wild animals outside. Come rains, the floors of your house get flooded in rainwaters till knees and your children run to you scared every night it rains. This is the...

The Heritage Ranchi Lake in trouble waters

/ July 30, 2015

Ranchi, Jharkhand | Nirmala Ekka Ranchi Lake (Bada Talab) is a man-made lake dug by the British in the heart of the city in 1842. The Ranchi Lake used to offer a beautiful and unique experience to the visitors. Located far away from the hustle and bustle of city life,...