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

The Ration of families in Bihar rationed

 
/ August 5, 2015

Over 1000 people from a village are being cheated out of their rations in Jaganathpur, Bihar. The majority of these families elong to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.  These families hold an Antyodaya Ration Cards which makes them eligible for 20 kg of rice and 15 kg of wheat as...

Farmers cheated under the Vermicompost scheme in Bihar

 
/ August 4, 2015

India is a land of farmers. It is also a land of farmer suicides – the major culprit being Corruption. Indian Government encourages farmers to use organic fertilisers by using earthworms to make Vermicompost. Under Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme of National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF), financial assistance was provided...

Few teachers and no toilets in middle school

 
/ December 29, 2014

“We want to be taught properly in our class and we want there to be discipline in our school,” says Meena, a student of the only middle school in all of Gaunaha Block, Bihar. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Tanju Devi reports on the woeful infrastructure of this school that serves the...

NREGA in Bihar: No work, no payments

 
/ November 18, 2014

Community Correspondent Tanju Devi, from Semri-Dumri village of West Champaran district of Bihar, reports on the plight of NREGA labourers who haven’t received due payments. CALL TO ACTION: You can call the P.O, Mr Kaushal Kishore, on +91-9431826712, and pressurize him into providing due payments to the labourers who have...

Tribals not allowed in ancestral forest

 
/ November 3, 2014

The Tharo tribe is indigenous to Betia area of West Champaran district in Bihar. The nearby forest, which has been the source of firewood and other natural resources for the tribe, has recently been converted into a Tiger Reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Tanju Devi reports...

Why Does Development Always Displace?

 
/ May 12, 2014

People from three villages in West Champaran Bihar, are protesting as their homes get taken away for the construction of a massive road along the Indo-Nepal border. The 65 families who stand to be displaced have not been given official notices for eviction. They also do not know where they...