Community Correspondents

Shikha Kumari Pahadin

Shikha Kumari Pahadin

As a member of a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, Shikha Pahadin feels that her work as a Community Correspondent is important because it gives primacy to issues that her isolated community faces. “There is a certain perception in the mainstream media that Tribal Groups are receiving many governmental benefits. People feel that things are simpler for us as we can get jobs easily. But the ground reality is far from this.” Shikha’s father used to work in a circus while she and her mother would make plaster of paris picture frames to do their bit for the household income when she was younger.

Shikha has made a number of videos that shed light on this ground reality. She has reported on problems ranging from affordable access to maternal healthcare to the harmful effects of rock- blasting in mineral rich areas. One issue that she has repeatedly highlighted through her work is the poor condition of government schools in her block. Her story on two non-functioning schools in the Chuha Pahar Village was even featured on NDTV’s primetime show, ‘The Buck Stops Here’. “I feel that it is important to talk about education because that is the root cause of all problems,” says Shikha. “It is being reported that several benefits are being given to members of our tribal community, but when most of us are uneducated, how will we even know about these benefits, let alone avail  them?”

“I think my story on teachers not showing up to schools has had the biggest impact. After I made my video and approached  concerned officials, new teachers were appointed in Utkramik Middle School in Kulbhanga Pahad village in February, 2015,” she adds. “After a similar story of schools not functioning in another village from the same block was aired on NDTV, all  of Mandro block has been impacted, because officials became active and appointed new teachers across the block”.

Shikha feels that working with Video Volunteers has had a considerable impact on her personal growth. “I’ve changed so much since I started working with VV in 2014, that I feel like I’m a completely different person,” she says. “Earlier, I was very shy. I couldn’t talk in front of men. If I was asked to speak a little loudly, I’d feel scared and start crying. Today, I’m not afraid to take on high-ranking  government officials also.” As a young single mother living under strained financial conditions, Shikha faces many challenges. Despite the difficulties, she continues to work for the welfare of her community. “I’ve always wanted to be an activist, to help my community. This is my dream.”

Videos from Shikha

Impact

Trafficked and Sold from One Man to Another, Minor Finally Returns Home

 
/ February 16, 2018

Nati was one of the 130 children who go missing and often fall victim to trafficking every day in India. Sold for 70,000 rupees, she was forcibly married and abused for a year before she managed to come back home.

Escape from Trafficking: 16 year old rescued from trafficking racket

 
/ September 17, 2015

Behulia Paharin of Boriya village, Sahebgani went missing in May 2014. Correspondent Shikha made a video about the issue and showed it to Boriya police officers but no action was taken.

A widow cheated by villagers of her compensations

 
/ November 17, 2016

The marginalised and tribal people in rural India, women in particular, are largely unaware of their rights and entitlements under various state and national schemes. The primary reasons for this are the lack of education, awareness of schemes and guidance to help them claim their rights. Under such circumstances, the knowledgeable...

Community Survey

‘If I get pension, I would like to study’ requests a young girl

 
/ August 25, 2016

Chitta Hembrom, 16, is a tribal handicap from Jharkhand who has not received her disability pension since four years. Under Jharkhand state’s  Swami Vivekananda Nishakt Swalamban Protsahan Yojna she is entitled to receive Rs. 400 per month and nor is she receiving the state’s educational scholarship of Rs. 250 per...

Sand instead of Cement used for constructing houses under Indra Awas scheme

 
/ June 28, 2016

Families spend nights scared of their houses collapsing down on them as sand was used instead of cement to build houses in Jharkhand. These houses were built under the Indira Gandhi Awas Yojana (IAY), one of the many programmes of the Ministry of Rural Development in India. IAY deals with...

Jharkhand: The school which always remains shut

 
/ June 14, 2016

India is one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. It is also poised to be the youngest nation in terms of its population by 2020. However, India also has the largest number of illiterates in the world, at 37 percent of the global total. In the past...

150 families in danger: rock blasting 30 feet away

 
/ January 18, 2016

150 families hide inside their homes as rocks are blasted barely 30 feet away from their village. Government regulations, which dictate at least a 500-meter distance between a mine and a neighboring village are blatantly disregarded as stones and gravel shower down upon the village, reducing their homes to shambles....

IMPACT| New teachers appointed after 2 years – Shikha Paharin reports for IndiaUnheard

 
/ November 12, 2015

Even after multiple complaints, the teachers were not coming to school since past two years. In september 2014, Shikha made a video on this issue and gave it to the Deputy Commissioner of Sahebganj district who took action to make sure the children don’t suffer any further. New teachers have...