Community Correspondents

Rayees Ahmad

State: J&k

Rayees is a social worker and a Community Correspondent with our KashmirUnheard team. He lives in a village called Shadimarg in Pulwama, one of the most disturbed parts of the Kashmir valley.

Coming from a region mired in conflict, Rayees has been covering the unrest in Kashmir for two years now. He strongly identifies himself as a feminist, and is particularly interested in covering women’s issues owing to their status as one of the most marginalised sections of society. “I live in a patriarchal society where women are not just oppressed by men but they are most affected by the conflict as well and there is no acknowledgement of the effects on them.”

Rayees believes that it may take decades to bring about a change in this system because it has been there for ages, but wants to contribute to that change as much as he can with the help of the platform provided by Video Volunteers. He believes in the empowerment of women, “In my society, the household work automatically goes to women, I don’t believe in that, even though working at home doesn’t bring disgrace, but the type of work should be the decision of the woman, not what  society forces upon her.”

Rayees had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science, then shifted his focus to Social Work which he thought would help in serving the society in a better way and pursued a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kashmir. He then started working with Care Promise Welfare Society which is an NGO based in Delhi and works on health, women and children’s issues. He then worked as a Coordinator at Action Aid Association, an international NGO. After joining another NGO, Equality and Rewards, which concentrated more centrally on issues relate to women and children, he finally got in touch with Video Volunteers through Nadia Shafi who was already working for the KashmirUnheard team at that time. He applied at Video Volunteers in 2016 and joined in 2017.

Since then, Rayees has covered stories on diverse topics from Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag. He has been threatened and beaten several times by the armed forces for his coverage of stories related to conflict because of which his family asked him to stop doing this work because it is dangerous but he was adamant to continue working for the betterment of his society.

He is very satisfied with his work at Video Volunteers. “Having experience with other NGOs, I realize that Video Volunteers gives me opportunities to express my capacity to the fullest, over and beyond the designated work. It gives me space to build my individual capacity. The best way Video Volunteers has benefited me in is by giving me greater awareness about the problems going on in my society.” He said that either the media organizations in his state are pro-India or anti-India, while he finds Video Volunteers to be objective and reporting from the ground level.

Most of his videos on developmental issues have had great impact and have helped in mobilising government functionaries. He receives calls from people of different areas who look up to him for advocating and solving their problems.

Videos from Rayees

No Cards

Kashmir Exported 2 Million Tons of Apple a Year Before COVID-19 Struck

/ November 19, 2020

Millions of lives were directly dependent on the once flourishing Apple farming industry of Kashmir.

Community Survey

A Kashmiri Doctor Paints on Chinar Leaves to Beat COVID-19 Stress

/ September 21, 2020

A MBBS student from Kashmir, stressed by exams and the pandemic, uses art to unwind.

No Cards

Kashmiri Youth In Tourist Town Tackle Waste

/ August 27, 2018

An environment lover in J&K’s Anantnag district is recruiting volunteers to help clean his town of trash.

70 Years On, West Pakistan Refugees Continue to Live a Life of Irony

/ June 20, 2018

In Jammu and Kashmir's Lassipora, the West Pakistan refugees say they're at the risk of being displaced because of the government’s double-dealing.