Community Correspondents

Rabiya Shafiq

Rabiya Shafiq hails from Rajouri, a district in the Jammu region of J&K. She has been a part of the Video Volunteers community since July 2017 but has been an activist for quite some time in the social development movement in Rajouri. After graduating with a diploma in journalism and tourism, she pursued a course in computers and fashion design. She has a long list of varied interests that span from photography to reading books (preferably historical novels) to gardening. She also works for several institutions and non-governmental organisations as a correspondent, like Valley Online and Aakaar.

As a Community Correspondent with one of Video Volunteers’ most dynamic networks, Kashmir Unheard, Rabiya has produced multiple mobile journalism videos on the state of affairs in several remote and backward districts of J&K. For Rabiya, her work is a way of shedding light on the inequalities, struggles and unfair treatment of the residents of these small districts that are almost never covered by mainstream media platforms, and are often entirely ignored for years. Basic knowledge of their rights, and basic amenities like sanitation and education are not available to the people living in these areas far flung from urban centres And as a result, they sometimes get accustomed to the disregard of the government authorities. Whether it is about resources for the conservation of tradition or problems of unregulated electricity or water supply, Rabiya is persistent in changing the status quo for the better and bringing about impactful development that benefits all.

One of the most significant videos she produced was from the remote district of Pir Kanju, just two kilometres away from the city centre. The area suffers from acute water shortage. Women walk for miles, sometimes up to ten times a day just to fetch some water to quench the thirst of their families. Nothing has been implemented to provide a less cumbersome method to collect water for years, and no news about this had been reported until Rabiya made her video. Some of her other videos provide a citizen’s perspective on the poor state of medical facilities and infrastructure in Rajouri. And Rabiya has also focused on the lack of support and platforms for youth organisations that focus on theatre and art to express themselves and their talent.

In the future, she hopes to work on documenting some of the dying traditions of Jammu and produce stories on the heritage of these small districts that are unknown to the rest of India.

For Rabiya, working with Video Volunteers has been, and continues to be, a heartwarming experience; from connecting with locals at the ground level to producing and bringing the story out. She says that it gives her a kind of peace to know that people’s stories and lives are being reported and that there are media platforms like VV to share these stories. Rabiya grew up believing that the voice of a woman didn't matter, thanks to patriarchal norms in society, but through her work, she has found that her voice is a powerful tool. And as a journalist,  her voice has let her explore areas where mainstream media has not even set foot on and has brought about increased awareness of the struggles of her people. Rabiya believes she is just getting started and is hopeful that her tiniest contribution to society will go a long way in bringing justice to many in her state.


Videos from Rabiya

No Cards

Government Evicts Nomadic Communities in Jammu Without Notice or Rehabilitation

/ October 8, 2018

The Forest Right Act does not apply to Jammu & Kashmir, making nomadic communities in the state vulnerable to alienation, eviction and violence.