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Gaon Connection: Imparting Rural India A Portal To Voice Themselves

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By Nimisha Jain:

Rural India has been in a gloomy state for long and its stagnant condition is highly attributed to its ignorant as well as ignored population. But now it’s time for a change; change for the better. Now, the rural people no longer have to be isolated from the outer, developed world. Instead, they would be able to have an access to information, opportunities, hopes etc. In a nutshell, they would have access to the possibility of a better life. And this would be achieved by a new initiative- India’s first rural newspaper- Gaon Connection.

gaon connectionThe major factor which holds back the rural world from advancing is the lack of connection in every sphere from the external world. It’s the lack of connection between the unemployed and the jobs, between the poor farming conditions and new farming techniques, between the social backwardness and social reforms; basically between the needy and the opportunities. Once the two poles are bridged, wonders can happen. And Gaon Connection, based majorly out of Uttar Pradesh, aims to accomplish the same task of bridging.

This first rural newspaper, an initiative by Neelesh Misra, isn’t exceptional just because it would reach the innermost village homes and impart the news from every little area of the world. But because it is so rural-orientated that the focus of the innovation would be to address village related issues and corresponding solutions to the problems. Even today, village societies are mainly agriculture-based. Their high dependence on this sector of occupation demands deep knowledge and associated skills that would enhance their productivity and hence the prosperity. But it’s a misfortune for our country that despite such a large labour supply in agriculture, the supply conditions of improved skills, techniques and innovations from urban to rural areas is far less than adequate. Many government initiatives towards the furtherance of enhanced agricultural methods remain hidden from the village population. Despite the improvements in seeds’ quality, new fertilizers and manures, credit criterion for rural households etc. villagers remain in an environment of poverty and hopelessness because they stay unaware.

Often out of desperation, these poor, helpless people wish to switch their occupations. But the bleak path of unawareness either takes them nowhere or to a riskier, lowly condition. There are many who migrate to cities in search for better jobs or who take up more uncertain offers in hope of a fruitful life ahead. But as witnessed most of the times, these new attempts welcome new problems, which majorly are irredeemable. These problems can be those of high indebtedness, intense poverty, separation from families etc. Fearing from such consequences there are others who remain committed to the low producing agricultural means of survival. These problems then aggregate and result in macro level teething troubles of poverty, unemployment, criminal activities and many other social issues.

Gaon Connection seems to better the picture. The 12-page all-colour broadsheet is priced at Rs 5. Its focus on betterment of villages brings in the solution. It would impart, along with general knowledge, specific information about the new schemes of government regarding agricultural reforms. In this way new source of information could beget a better agricultural environment in rural India with better tools, machinery and other methodologies. Also, as people would wish to migrate in search for new jobs, Gaon Connection could be a guiding light. As a rural newspaper, it would try to connect the corresponding demand and supply of new jobs by letting the village people know about the vacancies waiting for them in the outer world. This would not just clear the uncertainty but also offer an access to white-collar jobs, preventing the village people from getting indulged in illegal and criminal activities to combat the problems of poverty and dearth.

Also, knowledge about the importance of education and related information about its access at cheaper costs through various government schemes can improve the enrolment rates and attendance rates of rural India and thus enrich the educational status of India as a whole. The attainment of this objective could then proceed in combating one of the major problems of the country- child labour.

Not only in terms of stabilizing and improving the economic and educational condition of villages, Gaon Connection possesses the greater ability to bring about the social and political reforms which the country needs the most at the moment. This newspaper aims to change the lenses of rural India and help the villagers modify their outlook to various social issues- inequality, gender discrimination, untouchability, women empowerment, dowry etc. Better understanding of the national political scenario can help the local governing bodies of villages to bring about a desired change in their functioning. And this newspaper can also make rural India much healthier by imparting the information about hygiene, vaccinations, diseases and cures.

Thus, we believe that Gaon Connection can make the rural India well informed. Its impact on every sphere of rural life can be so effective that various glitches that are present, like unemployment, social backwardness, poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy can vanish. This would finally result in a better India.


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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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