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

Take Action

Agrarian Community in Bihar Affected by Lack of Irrigation Facilities

 
/ September 10, 2018

The central government provides subsidies for micro-irrigation facilities, but the subsidy is not enough in the face of rising debt and the lack of awareness.

Take Action

Flood-Affected Farmers Fight for Entitled MNREGA Benefits

 
/ August 20, 2018

While floods in Bihar get some media attention, the effects on the agrarian community are far reaching and need sustainable solutions rather than immediate relief packages.

Take Action

Sand Mining in Bihar: An Industry, a Mafia, an Environmental Disaster

 
/ August 3, 2018

Sand mining in the rivers of West Champaran is causing unmitigated floods in the region, year after year. Why is the government not responding?

Impact

Flood-affected Farmers in West Champaran Get Compensation

 
/ July 27, 2018

Floods are a common occurrence in West Champaran, Bihar, but the response mechanism is slow. Here’s how an agrarian community held the government to task.

Take Action

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,...