Gaunaha, West Champaran, Bihar | Tanju Devi
There is only one ambulance for 18 villages in Gaunaha block of West Champaran district. Pregnant women say that ambulance never arrives on time. They either have to hire a private vehicle or use a bullock cart to get the nearest health facility.
Please call the Block Medical Officer of Gaunaha on + 91 9470063204 and urge him to ensure that more ambulances are allotted to the village and are made functional.
Tanju Devi reports from Gaunaha block of West Champaran district in Bihar for IndiaUnheard.
This series on maternal health is supported by Oxfam India.
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.
- Posted in: Featured, States, East, All Videos, Bihar, Campaigns, Old Health
- Tagged in: human rights, maternal health, IndiaUnheard, video volunteers, Community Media, Bihar, empowerment, media, Community Correspondents, participatory media, Nonprofit, West Champaran District (Indian District), Tanju Devi, oxfam india, Ambulance (Film Subject), Village (Fictional Organization Type), gaunaha, block medical officer, Pregnancy (Film Subject)