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Everyday Heroes Powering the Mobile Vaani Clubs

Meet our heroes who are creating an impact everyday in their community through Mobile Vaani. These are the citizen journalists from Mobile Vaani media clubs who have been collecting stories from the rural marginalized community they belong to, and making it heard by the world. Their stories have led to great changes in the community and that is how they are causing ripples around Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Media Clubs

Media clubs exist at the block head quarters of the blocks we are operating and it is a dedicated association where volunteers from the community sit together , discuss the issues and decide the developmental priorities of the community and share these priorities using the simple mobile phone to the outer world or the concerned citizens. The club members record community news, grievances, issues and cultural artifacts  on club channel and Mobile Vaani.

Our Stories

Corrupt Headmaster Owns Up His Mistake

Dashrath Mahto is from Gram Panchayat Shankardih, Dumri Block, Giridih district in Jharkhand. He recorded a message on JMV about a school headmaster mentally harassing the school students. The headmaster of High school, Galagi was charging Rs. 10/ – per student for issuing the admit card of matric students. When a few students refused to pay the amount, the headmaster threatened to fail them in the practical exams by giving them less marks. After the message got published on Jharkhand Moblie Vaani (JMV), it spread like wildfire in the area. Everyone got to know about the tactics of the headmaster. So the headmaster called a meeting of the parents and guardians in school and owned up his mistake. He further promised not to repeat such mistakes in future and also appealed to the students to write the exam without worrying about all this.

Electricity Bills Without Connection

T.M. Brahmasri is from Madhubani district of Bihar and an active member of the Mobile vaani  media club in Madhubani. He said that a village near Madhubani was getting regular electricity bills without any electric connection. The report was published in MV and also  forwarded to the authorities. Soon the authorities discontinued the bills and promised to look into the matter.

Missing Paycheck Issue Resolved

Kumkum Sadai from Khutauna Madhubani working in the MNREGA Horticultural Department voiced a complaint on MV saying that despite working regularly at his job he had not received a paycheck for the last two years. Though he tried to follow up with various officials including the district magistrate, none of them responded to his requests for payment but rather asked him to take the matter up with the village headman (mukhya). Unfortunately the village headman said that his money was being taken by the BEO (Block Employment Officer) and there was nothing that could be done about it. Hearing this story MV sent a letter to the MNREGA Horticultural Department. As a result of this letter and follow up phone calls by MV’s Community Manager, Kumkum Sadai received his missing paychecks. The entire process between voicing the grievance and the issue being resolved took two months.

                                                                                                         Receives Prompt Aid in Malaria Affected Village

Om Prakash from Palmua Jharkand reported three malaria deaths in one week due in his village. He blamed lack of awareness of these issues by health agencies as the cause of these deaths. When the concerned authorities got to know about this issue, a mobile ambulance was immediately dispatched, with fumigation equipment and first aid. The caller Om Prakash called back to submit a follow up report thanking Mobile Samachar Sewa for providing them with this kind of a platform and the health authorities who responded promptly to aid the ailing mothers, children and poor people of the village.

Fight for Migrant Rights

Ganesh, the only earning member of his family had travelled from his village in Giridih district in Jharkand to Delhi to work as a cook and died under unnatural circumstances while in Delhi. His family were worried about what would happen to them now and wondering why they had not been able to receive any benefits from the government. A friend of the family recorded this story and sent it on MV. Volunteers at Gram Vaani sent letters describing the story along with an audio clip of the report recorded over the network to the Labour Commission. Following this the Indian Labor Commission sent a letter to local offices ordering them to thoroughly investigate this case. Upon investigation it was found that that since Ganesh was an unregistered migrant his family could not legally avail of any compensation. However, due to public interest in the case the BDO (Block Divisional Officer) took matters into his own hands and provided ration cards to the family and waived the college tuition fees for Ganesh’s son. The story does not end with Ganesh – after his story was aired hundreds of similar tales began being appearing on MV. Almost all of them were about unregistered migrants who commented on the lack of facilities in their local panchayats (village councils) to complete registration before leaving as migrants. So MV volunteers took matters into their own hands and reached out to the Labour Department again prompting a drive to train people at the panchayat centres to register migrants. Volunteers at MV announced the dates of these trainings over our networks to make sure people knew that now they could hold the system accountable and demand migrant rights.

Tube well Installed for Drinking Water

Farkeshwar Mahto from Kherabera village, Topchanchi Block, Dhanbad in Jharkand said that there was a lot of problem with availability of drinking water. People used to get their drinking water from open drains. People repeatedly asked the government to set up a tube well but these demands were not met. Farkeshwar even approached Prabhat Khabar (Jharkhand’s local newspaper with largest circulation in the state) but they did not carry his item. However when he left his item on JMV, it got published and simultaneously JMV forwarded the item to Panchayatnama (JMV’s local media partner and Prabhat Khabar’s fortnightly magazine) as a result of which an article was published on this issue and the matter got highlighted. The authorities responsible for installation of tube well installed it without any further delay.

Trees Planted on Roadside

Farkeshwar Mahto also gave a report about planting trees on the road between Ghorati village and Cheta village in Dhanbad district after which the DFO Satish Chandra Rai initiated the planting of 1200 hybrid trees on both sides of the road in the 5 km stretch between the villages.

 Anganwadi Gets New Building

Wasida Khatun from Ranchi district of Jharkhand shared the information in JMV that the anganwadi in her village was operating in a rickety kacha building which possessed great risk to the students. Soon after the situation came into the limelight, the authorities shifted the anganwadi to a new concrete building.

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