Community Correspondents

Reena Ramteke

Reena Ramteke belongs to a remote village of 60 families in the district of Ghariaband in the state of Chhattisgarh in eastern India. The region that she lives in is heavily forested. Basic amenities like water, electricity and roads are lacking or altogether absent. Life is difficult, poverty is rife. The state is hell-bent on exploiting the forests and the mineral-rich land. There is state violence and caste violence. “People in my district face a lot of problems. The denial of forest rights is a major issue. Though the Kamar people are the indigenous inhabitants of the land, they are not getting their basic rights.”

Since she joined Video Volunteers in 2012, Reena has reported on a number of issues ranging from lack of maternal healthcare in rural Chhattisgarh to ration card related corruption in Ghariaband.

In 2011, Reena started her own organisation- the Navnirman Chetna Jan Manch. Through it, she raises awareness, especially amongst women, about existing laws and welfare schemes. “All issues that affect members of my community are important for me,” says Reena. “It is important to raise issues affecting women because women are oppressed and often don’t have strong support systems. They need support. Through my videos, I try and provide that support.”

Reena feels that working with Video Volunteers has brought about considerable change in her personal life as well. “I have learnt a lot because my work takes me to different places and broadens my horizons,” says Reena. “Earlier, in our family we had a mindset that girls should not go outside the home. But today, I go out for training sessions for 10-15 days and my family doesn’t say anything. They might ask which place I am going to but they’ll never question why I’m going out.”

Going forward, Reena wishes for people in her district and state to be familiar with her work as a community correspondent. “I also want to learn more about the country’s laws and the work that lawyers do so that I can be more adept at dealing with people’s grievances,” adds Reena.

Reena 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 Reena

FIR denied to a Survivor of Domestic Violence

/ April 26, 2016

India has entered into a new millennium, termed as the development phase but from the dawn of civilization till today but women under the patriarchal society of India continue to be oppressed and ill-treated. A woman is subjugated – dependent, weak, exploited and faces gender discrimination in every sphere of...

Polluted Water Spreading Disease

/ October 20, 2015

“Gargatti Parsuli village of Gariyaband district of Chhattisgarh people facing lack of drinking water problem and women fetch water from river which is polluted. Community Correspondent Reena Ramteke reports from Chhattisgarh for Video Volunteers.”

Another law fails in implementation: Tribals fight for their rights under FRA

/ July 29, 2015

Sornaman Village, District Gariaband, Chattisgarh | Reena Ramteke The Forest Rights Act (FRA) along with the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Actis a cornerstone of Indian grassroots democracy. They give forest dwelling communities and individuals a final say with regards to land use. When it came into power in 2006,...

One Village. Three Women. A state-run health facility that never opens

/ June 16, 2015

Do pregnant women in remote villages of India receive healthcare services they are entitled to under the Indian government’s schemes to bring down maternal deaths and infant mortality? In this village, a state-run health facility is always shut. This video follows three women – one who lost her baby within...

Leaking subsidies; deprived poor

/ January 27, 2015

January 27; Ghariyaband, Chattisgarh In India’s hinterland, corruption related to the ration cards is quite common. For the simple reason that it can help obtain subsidised food grains, people try to get their hands on BPL ration cards, even if they aren’t entitled. This leads to deprivation on the part...

Keeping the anganwadi alive

/ August 22, 2014

CC Reena Ramteke tells the story of an anganwadi worker who has sacrificed a lot in the past 7 years to keep this anganwadi working. 7 years since inception in ward no 10 of Gariaband district, no building has been built or permanently allocated to this anganwadi. Kamleshwari has been...