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

Missing Infrastructure: Pregnant women vaccinated, undergo check-ups in an open field

/ July 27, 2015

In Pundag village of Ranchi district, the absence of an Anganwadi Centre in the village means that pregnant women are forced to undergo check-ups and are vaccinated in an open field. “We aren’t comfortable undergoing check-ups in the open. We have to put up curtains to make ourselves comfortable or...

Nutrition and Education: A case for Anganwadi in a slum settlement

/ December 18, 2014

Kadru Kumhar Toli, a slum settlement in Ranchi, Jharkhand, is home to about 250 families. 49 children in this community are below the age of 5 but there is no Anganwadi centre around. Community Correspondent Nirmala Ekka’s report shows that Anganwadi would go a long way in escalating the poor...

The Case of the Disappearing Anganwadi

/ May 22, 2012

The Anganwadi at Ward 28, Ranchi, Jharkhand has been illegally moved