Community Correspondents

Tanju Devi

Tanju Devi

State: BIHAR

Tanju Devi is a member of the Tharu tribe and she lives in a forested area in West Champaran along the Indo-Nepal border. She comes from a community which has had to face a long history of abuse, neglect, and degradation at the hands of other communities.

Having witnessed injustice at such close quarters all her life, she worked hard to inspire fellow community members to live a life of independence.That’s why she decided to get involved when she heard about the Community Correspondents Network: “With my camera, I can create greater changes for my community.”

Over the last decade, Tanju has actively supported a multitude of issues and rallies in her village. She has produced videos on a wide range of problems on themes ranging from forced labor, corruption, governance and accountability, gender to health. Most of these videos have made a positive impact, alleviating misery for those affected. However, an issue that is very close to her heart centers around the Anti-Poverty Programs that the government. She has made a lot of videos on non-implementation of poverty-alleviation schemes, especially those around disability and elderly pension schemes. “I have a differently-abled husband and an aging mother-in-law. I know how important even a few hundred rupees is in an impoverished person’s life. It means food, medicine, and security to many,” explains Tanju. Her deep understanding of these issues is transformed into effective storytelling when she makes videos for the rights of persons with disabilities and senior citizens.  

A major impact driven by Tanju was when she made a video on year-long pension arrears of persons with disabilities, widows and senior citizens in Gaunaha of West Champaran district in Bihar. She documented their testimonies and met the Gaunaha Block Development Officer (BDO). Due to her persistence, as many as 3,000 beneficiaries were called in a community gathering in Gaunaha and were given their due arrears. This earned her the reputation of a powerful citizen journalist. “Since nothing else seemed to have worked in the past, I thought, “Why not try using the camera to create change?” After all, I am trained in it.”

Tanju, with her determined spirit, stays an inspiration for those from her community. Her life is a living example of the change that can happen when individuals raise their voice against the system.

Videos from Tanju

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Bihar Government’s Blindspot on the Arsenic Poisoning Map

 
/ May 11, 2018

Alarming groundwater arsenic levels are spelling a death sentence in Bihar. In West Champaran, where the arsenic levels are higher than the accepted levels, there is neither prevention or cure.

No Cards

Bihar’s Double Whammy of Floods and Droughts

 
/ April 20, 2018

Owing to climate change and erratic rain cycles, farmers in Bihar’s West Champaran are reeling from the loss of crops to floods and droughts, and from the hefty debt that they are now entrapped in.

Under 14 Football Captain struggles for proper shelter

 
/ October 29, 2015

West Champaran, Bihar | Tanju Devi  Soni Kumari was part of India women under-14 team that won the Asian Football Confederation Tournament in 2013. Now she is the captain of the Under-14 Indian Football team. The government should take some initiatives to develop such rising stars but unfortunately, the government...

Natural water source is on the brink of extinction in Domat, Bihar

 
/ March 7, 2017

Agriculture communities across many villages depend on natural resources to support their farming. The sustenance of these resources is never the priority of the administration. Natural resources may soon be on the brink of extinction.Lachnauta Jumi is a water source situated near Domat village. This water is used for drinking,...

IMPACT: Villagers take back community land from corrupt headman

 
/ December 19, 2014

A quiet village on the border of India and Nepal, Semri-Dumri is a sleepy hamlet where nothing seems to happen. A paved road blends solemnly into sand a few miles behind the vaguely identifiable border. Motorcycles that pass through can be heard from a distance, along with the stones rattled...

Impact: All dues Paid

 
/ May 19, 2014

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees Indian citizens the ‘right to work’ for the purpose of ensuring livelihood security in rural areas. In this interview, VV-PACS Community Correspondent Tanju Devi describes how she challenged administration with her camera ensuring that Tinku Devi hailing from the twin villages of...

Impact: Video Gets Compensation to Victims of Human-Animal Conflict

 
/ April 24, 2014

India’s 28,000 wild elephants are cramped up in around 3% of its geographical area. A bare handful of areas have been declared protected areas known as elephant corridors. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Tanju Devi lives in Dumari, a small hamlet flanked by the forests in West Champaran, Bihar. This community has...

Bihar Government is yet to pay compensation to Fire-affected households

 
/ August 30, 2016

A fire broke out at midnight in a hamlet in West Champaran district of Bihar unknown to its resident, burning three houses down to the ground, leaving its poor residents homeless and without any belongings. “We’ve lost everything in the fire; Rs. 10,000 worth cash and jewellery, 50 kgs of wheat, 1.5 quintals...