Stories of neglect, deprivation and discrimination, which often fail to get into mainstream media, are now being captured on video by a network of community journalists hailing from backward districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Equipped with handheld cameras, a network of "video volunteers" from the three states are reporting on issues like waterlogging at a local school, struggle for clean drinking water in one remote district or even how poor health facilities are forcing people in another district to fall back on dangerous ritual practices.
Community Correspondent Network (CCN) has been launched by the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS), an initiative of UK government and the "India Unheard" campaign by Video Volunteers (VV), an international NGO which trains "community journalists" in video production.
"Communities have larger role to play as changemakers in the era of strong vibrant mainstream media. We are starting this network where women and men from socially excluded communities like adivasis and dalits will capture struggles, the aspiration and success of our communities," Rajan Khosla, director, PACS said at the launch of the CCN here on June 29.
The idea is to create "an interface between grassroot journalists and mainstream journalists," said Khosla.
Ramsakhi Ahirwar, from Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh says she used to work rolling beedis and used to discuss her problems with her woman friends but once she got trained to be a video correspondent she says she "found power."
"There are many problems and I had made two or three videos in two or three panchayats. Now officials are wary and they listen to me ... I want to show the unheard news stories on screen," said Ramsakhi.
"Not only are we women but we can do something for the society too. With the help of camera I will put forward all the issues and I hope to resolve them which will bring change in my community," says Anupa Parte a tribal woman correspondent from Mandala district, Madhya Pradesh.
Correspondents are chosen from within the districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.