Community Correspondents

Rafiqa Bano

Rafiqa Bano

Rafiqa is an artisan and Community Correspondent from Budgam, Jammu & Kashmir Involved in the artisanship of pashmina needlework, Rafiqa is worried about the fact that fewer and fewer people are taking up traditional craftsmanship and carrying it forward to the coming generation. She has made multiple videos telling of the atrocities that artists have to go through in this age of factory-made art. Unfortunately, most of them have had to give up on their craft and turns to other means of livelihood, often wage labour. The state also suffers from mass unemployment.

“Video Volunteers has opened new ventures for me, before joining the VV family, I was not aware of the things which had been happening in my own community. My work here opened the world for me, and I found a zeal within me to do something for my people.”

Rafiqa explains the situation of how most of the neighbouring villages don’t even have access to basic amenities. There is hardly any water; with only one water tank being made available to the village residents once in a week, girls have been giving schooling to fetch safe drinking water instead. Broken roads make it extremely difficult for ambulances to reach patients on time, there’s barely any power connection either. The people in and around her community have gotten used to the makeshift, compromised lifestyle, Rafiqa feels, and the administration has been extremely callous towards these people, paying no heed.

A 50-year-old water pipeline in Khanihuma village had gotten rusty and was sprouting contaminated causing sickness and death. Rafiqa decided to cover the issue, and as a result, in a few months’ time, a sum of 10,000 rupees was sanctioned by the local authorities to replace the pipe.“My family has been my greatest motivation and they have supported my work through and through. There were other people who made comments on my work; they were of the view that I am involved with the army and soon I will be on television, that I am doing all of this for fame. In due course of time, they saw my work and now, initially doubtful and reluctant these people themselves approach me to cover issues. My impact videos have been my own benchmark, and have pushed me more to take up community issues and resolve them.”

“I was hesitant to talk to officials when I started working as a Community Correspondent, thinking I was not capable of making a conversation. But with the confidence my work instilled in me, people acknowledge my identity and I feel fearless. I enjoy editing the videos that I shoot, I can also help people outside of work, and I am now spreading my knowledge.”

Rafiqa is all eyes and ears even when she is travelling. Talking to a fellow passenger on her way back home on day, she learnt about an elderly woman who had been abandoned by her son and daughter-in-law, ill-treated and locked up in a dingy room.  She took her camera to the village and shot a video on the issue, finding more, similar stories. The man, in the second case that she discovered, died before she could do anything, which pains her, but Rafiqa is determined to work for the elderly and provide for all that they deserve at their age.

Videos from Rafiqa

Tied to an Army Jeep: A Kashmiri Voter’s Tryst with Democracy

 
/ April 23, 2017

While solidarity pours in for the Army, how is Farooq Ahmad Dar coping with the trauma of being used as a human shield?

Kangri: The Craft that warms Kashmir Winters

 
/ February 20, 2017

Kangri is a handmade, wicker fire pot that keeps people warm during the severe Kashmir winters. It works as a mobile heater during the season when the temperature dips down to minus 20 degrees.

A Visit inside Kashmir’s First Cashless Village

 
/ February 16, 2017

  Lanura Budgam village is located at a distance of 24 Kms from Srinagar city. The village was declared to be the first ‘cashless’ village by J&K Government on 18 December 2016. The declaration of Lanura being a cashless village stunned local villagers. The village lacks basic facilities, like electricity...

A Visit inside Kashmir’s First Cashless Village

 
/ February 16, 2017

  Lanura Budgam village is located at a distance of 24 Kms from Srinagar city. The village was declared to be the first ‘cashless’ village by J&K Government on 18 December 2016. The declaration of Lanura being a cashless village stunned local villagers. The village lacks basic facilities, like electricity...

Poverty Compels three sisters to abandon their Studies

 
/ January 20, 2016

At a time when the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department in Kashmir is being accused of issuing ration cards to non-state subjects, many households in Kashmir have been left out from the recently issued ration card list by the authorities. These families have been deprived of basic food items...