This is a tale of a remote village, rather, we can say this is no less than a fairy tale! As the sun was setting over Appapur Penta, a tiny village situated near the Nallamala forest in Telangana inhabited by the Chenchu tribe, one could see a trio of the wonder-women with their cameras covering farming activities.
These three women are members of the same tribe and are also farmers. They took the unusual step of joining Sangareddy, a media trust that is based in the Deccan Development Society (DDS) that predominantly works with women farmers from Dalit communities. These women continued to shoot their colleagues who explained agricultural practices and seed-banking to farmers.
According to The NewsMinute, Lakshma.B of Hamnapur, Molamma of Ippalapali, and Chandramma of Manigari are farmers from Dalit communities. A team of around 20 women works in this community media station, and their job is to record the farming activities of the people in the fields. When asked about the reasons behind making the video, the women said that sometimes, farmers who are less educated can easily understand things through videos. In such a situation, they actually record the entire farming process and use it as a source of reading which has been of significant benefit to farmers.
Apart from the farming activities, these women journalists belonging to this community also record every festival associated with farmers. The old harvest festivals, Patha Pantala Jatara and Eruvaka Panduaga, which begin in the rainy season are the two principal crop festivals. During this, Lakshma (One of the three journalists) and her companions are busy in shooting activities.
Earlier, Lakshma was a daily wage labourer. Now she has traveled to more than 15 countries for various DDS projects and this year she went to the Maldives in connection with a project. The news report said that in 2001 the women of the area reached DDS with their problems, and since then, this journey of empowering women has continued on a strong path. Speaking to The News Minute, Chinna Narasamma, who is currently the head of Community Media Trust, said, “We are running a video diary program right now. We upload all these videos on YouTube.”
Isn’t this a phenomenal example of how technology and empowerment can join hands to bring about a revolution? It has been working in 75 villages and the women now listen to each other’s problems and work together to solve them. Once-daily wage workers are now professional film-makers and reporters, and they are successfully transforming the lives of many like them.
As they said, “It took some months but we slowly got the hang of it“, which means it was not easy initially however their diligence and perseverance made it happen so well. They found it necessary to educate fellow farmers and utilised technology perfectly to execute this mission. Let’s hope such initiatives are noticed well and are spread across different parts of the country.
Image credit: culture-centered.blogspot.com