Video Volunteers
Member since:
June 22, 2010
Number of visitors
18145
Videos watched
115521

 

Organization
Description
Video Volunteers (VV) is working to create an alternative media landscape in which thousands of rural and poor people around the world can produce high quality video content that brings awareness to communities and empowers them to take action.

Started in 2003, Video Volunteers, a registered 501c3 non profit organisation, is led jointly by Jessica Mayberry and Stalin K.

Our main programs include Community Video Units, IndiaUnheard – Community News Service, Community Radio Forum, Girl Powered Videos, Videoshala E-CVUs and Videos for Livelihood.

All of these programs are providing disadvantaged communities with the journalistic, critical thinking and creative skill that will all them to articulate and share their perspectives on a local and a global level.

Our work has earned us several awards including the prestigious Manthan Award South Asia ‘09 and grants from the Knight News Challenge and the Echoing Green Foundation. Video Volunteers has also won a 2006 Tech Museum Award and the NYU Stern Business School Social Business Plan Competition in 2008.

Video Volunteers is active in the US, India, and Brazil and has done projects in other places such as Africa.
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Eel fishing provides an alternative livelihood to the Rongmei Naga community of India’s Manipur. Nearly a hundred thousand people of the Rongmei Naga community live in Manipur. Achungmei – the correspondent of this video is one of them. Most of these community members live bellow the poverty line. They practice slash and burn cultivation method, growing vegetables and fruits on the slopes of the hills. However, this is not enough to support an entire family. So for their survival, the tribals need an alternative means of earning. Eel fishing in the Logtak lake is currently that other source of income for the Rongmeis. Spread over 40 square km, Logtak is the largest freshwater lake in the north east region. The water of the lake is mostly covered with water weeds, making it a perfect breeding ground for eels. For people of Manipur, the staple diet is rice and fish. So there is a huge demand for fish, especially eel in the local market. Interestingly, before Manipur became a part of the Indian republic, the rights of fishing in Logtak used to be given by the king to his cavalry soldiers as remuneration for their services. Luckilly for the local tribal community, such exclusive fishing rights are no longer given to anyone. So the poor tribals are now free to fish and earn their livelihood through selling their catch to local customers. Some of the community members, such as Achungmei’s family members do not fish themselves, but are regular consumers. So, by buy...
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Videos (19)
 
 
Aisha Ansari, resident of the Sathe Nagar Slums in Mumbai, is a woman to be reckoned with. A mother of two, Aisha was a victim of domestic abuse at the mercy of her husband. Her every perceived indiscretion was met with verbal and even physical lashing which she suffered in silence. Her family life was crumbling under the violence. She was losing her self esteem and her children were sliding into depression. Until one day when Aisha decided to take responsibility of her life. She promised herself she would raise her children, she would earn and run her household but no longer would she remain mute.
Aisha Ansari dared to speak out and she got her life back. She found her purpose in life and now, she helps other woman in her neighbourhood leave behind lives lived in violence and abuse and sets them on the path to empowerment. Aisha Ansari has become the voice and face of the empowered women in her community.
Community Correspondent Amol Lalzare who made the video on this extraordinary woman has experienced the trauma of domestic violence at close quarters. "It feels like the walls of your house are closing in on you," says Amol. 21% of married women in India have been or are victims of domestic violence. The number rises sharply in the slums where rate of domestic abuse which is proportional to alcoholism, unemployment and poverty.
Aisha Ansari?'crusade first took the form of an awareness campaign. She invited prominent police personnel in her area to speak on the subject. The police commissioner assured the women that the law is on their side and is always approachable. All the women have to do is to break the silence and speak out.
Aisha's activism continues unabated as she attempts to intervene and resolve domestic conflict in Sathe Nagar. Community Correspondent Amol Lalzare will continue to report on her campaign and lend Aisha's powerful voice and message a platform that will reach beyond the borders of the Mumbai Slum to all the women in the world. As Aisha puts it- "The first step in breaking the cycle of oppression is ending the silence."
 
03:24
Added: 98 weeks, 1 day
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 2047
 

Different communities speaking out in India to make a difference 
For more information, please visit:  http://www.videovolunteers.org/
 
02:45
Added: 110 weeks, 15 hours
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 2160
 

Oral history of the forest tribes of Goa awaits documentation, revival.

Devidas Gaonkar is a forest tribal who has been regularly reporting on issues that concern various forest tribes of Goa. These issues include illegal mining, depleting level of groundwater, corruption, land grab etc. Click here to watch Devidas’s personal profile. In this video, Devidas highlights the need of preserving Sarantari – folk music that captures his tribe’s genealogical and cultural history.

Sarantari songs have been sung by the tribe for several centuries. These are songs about their professions, art, culture, religion and social traditions. Most of the community’s elderly population cannot read or write. So, the tribe still doesn’t have a written history of its own. The folk songs which are passed on from one generation to other are their only oral history.

However, this history is now under threat as the younger generation is not interested in learning the songs. One of the reasons is that the youth find the traditional songs slow and boring compared to the foot-tapping modern music that they hear elsewhere. Also, there are no educational initiatives – such as production of books or CDs – to instruct children as to their value. Thus, few children are interested in sitting with an elder and spend hours learning or singing the traditional songs.

As a young tribal, Devidas finds himself caught in a dilemma. He understands the great value of the folk songs which are his community’s only history that exists. But he also knows that young children will not learn them unless this value is explained to them or made available in a more attractive way. The solution, he thinks, can be through documentation of these songs and making them a part of the school syllabus and also put them in a series of video/audio albums.

In Goa, the Social Welfare ministry has the budget and the authority to look after all tribal affairs. Additionally, the ministry also receives fund from the central government to preserve and promote tribal art and culture. During the shooting of this video Devidas visited the ministry’s office and met several officials there. He asked the officials if there was a government plan to preserve the forest tribes’ oral history, they said that there were no such plans. But Devidas feels that as the ministry responsible for preserving the tribal art and culture, it can take up the documentation of tribal history as a project because several states such as Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have done this in recent past.

If you want to know the plans of the ministry on preservation and promotion of art& culture of the forest tribes of Goa, you can contact the department at this address:

Directorate Of Social Welfare,

Government of Goa,

18th June Road,

Panjim – Goa.

Ph No: (91) (0832) 2232257
 
02:51
Added: 162 weeks, 21 hours
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 6076
 

VV Community Correspondent  Rohini takes microloan, buys a computer to improve her livelihood through IndiaUnheard.
Rohini, the correspondent of this video, is from a poor farming family. She has struggled to make ends meet since she got married 8 years ago, but her local microcredit group has made life a lot easier. What’s she doing with her latest loan? She’s using it to buy a computer.

Says a proud Rohini, ‘I am the first woman to buy a computer in my village. Everyone is coming to my house to see how a computer looks and how the buttons work. I’m so excited! Now I can do all my IndiaUnheard work – writing scripts, transferring visuals, burning DVDs — from my own computer.” In a village as rural as hers’, where many people still use buffalo carts to get around, a computer is indeed a rarity.

Rohini’s video talks about the microcredit program she’s part of. It was first introduced in Rohini’s village by a local NGO called Ajeet Yuva Pratishthan but is now completely run by Rohini and the other women members. All of them are illiterates or semi-literates with few economic assets, such as cattle or cultivable land. The women have been saving about Rs. 100 per month (about two dollars) for the last eight years. As a result, they can take out loans of up to Rs. 15,000-25,000. Some women have used them to set up small businesses like a bangle or sari shop. Rohini used hers to buy a computer with a loan of Rs 25,000.

She had to travel for 17 hours to go to Mumbai to buy the computer, but that didn’t stop her. For the past seven months she had been using a computer in a cyber café which is about 45 minutes away from her home. The café charged her Rs 35 per hour. “Every time I would go there, I used to be scared of using a computer and being blamed for causing damage.“ She adds, “now, I don’t have that tension when I work. And I can also explore different ways to use the computer to earn more.” Her next plan is to get an Internet connection. Once she does that, she can upload her own videos, watch the videos of her other friends who are IU correspondents, and post her own updates to facebook and twitter. (These are now done by VV staff in the Goa office, since almost no IU correspondents have internet access. And for Rohini, who only speaks Hindi and Marathi, translation would be another challenge, but perhaps tools like google translator could help her.)

It’s clear that access to technology is changing the power dynamics in Rohini’s life.

Says Rohini of her husband, a farmer, who also has aspirations in the media field, “I’m now teaching my husband how to use a computer. He recently learnt photography and I am going to show him how to upload his photos on the web, create an album and email them to his clients. I am actually using what I learnt at the training program of IndiaUnheard.”

Rohini has undoubtedly taken a big step by buying a computer, and she’s banking on media to lift her family out of poverty.

People interested in learning more about media entrepreneurship can read elsewhere on the VV website about VV’s efforts in this arena, such as our research project with the leading business school of Asia, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad; our video and livelihoods program in the favelas of Brazil; the wedding video production course he helped to set up with our partner Navsarjan in Ahmedabad; and the earned income focus of our CVU program, where one CVU achieved 40% financial sustainability last year. We plan to share Rohini’s story with the other IU Community Correspondents and assist those who so desire in getting bank loans for setting up their own media businesses, just like Rohini.
 
03:29
Added: 174 weeks, 2 days
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 5898
 

Despite a law in place, poor women from marginalized communities in Jharkhand continue to be branded as ‘witches’ and tortured.

Mukesh Rajak describes the plight of Rubiya Bibi - a poor Muslim woman and a mother of 4 children from his own district who has been declared as a witch by her rich and influential villagers and brutally tortured. All the torturers were men.

The video shows how, along with the women accused of witchcraft, her children and family also are victimised and isolated from the society. The woman is also not allowed to work.

Jharkhand was one of the first Indian states, to adopt a law against witchcraft-related cruelties and crimes against women. The law - Witchcraft Prevention Act, 2001 provides for severe punishment for those who brand/torture/kill women as ‘witches’.

Ironically, the state still continues to top the list of women branded as witches.The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) records state that Jharkhand has witnessed deaths of 249 persons (mostly women) between 2001 and 2008 for "practising witchcraft".

The Jharkhand Criminal Investigation Department figures maintain that as many as 1,200 witches managed to survive torture and attacks between 2001 and 2009. The figures suggest that there has been a rise in the number of attacks on women accused of being a 'witch'.

While the attackers aim to kill the victim, some lucky ones manage to escape. Rubiya was also lucky to have survived. But her in-laws threw her out of their house. Rubiya’s husband who is mentally unstable, was unable to protect her. 

Uneducated and denied work, Rubiya has no means to support herself or her children.

For her father, a daily wage labourer, its extremely difficult to feed so many mouths.

It’s this unjustified sufferings of Rubiya and her family that made Mukesh take up her case to report. He is especially bitter about the way Rubia’s children are ostracized, beaten and taunted every day.
During the shoot of this video Mukesh also spoke to several other victims of witchcraft like Rubia. These meetings made him realize that it is only the poor and defenceless women who are handpicked by their rich and powerful neighbours to be declared ‘witches’.

Mukesh is keenly following the case filed by Ribiya Bibi. He wants  people watching this video to create pressure on the  police of Deogarh to act on the case, so that this woman can get justice under the existing anti-witchcraft law.
 
02:13
Added: 185 weeks, 1 day
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 6595
 

See the immense possibilities of Video Volunteers - of what participative empowering media can do for people.

Hear the founders - Jessica Mayberry and Stalin K, the community producers, the trainers and people of communities talk about community video and how it has changed their life.

Videovolunteers gives people their voice back. As Salman Rushdie had said " Those who do not have power over the stories that dominate their lives, power to retell them, rethink them, deconstruct them, joke about them, and change them as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts".....Videovolunteers gives communities the space to think new thoughts.
More info :  www.videovolunteers.org
 
08:52
Added: 186 weeks, 5 days
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 6397
 

Women break into the mail domain of traditional farming, turn food growers in remote village of India’s Bihar state
Varsha Jawalgekar brings us the inspiring report of a group of women in her district Patna who have mastered the art of traditional farming including tilling the land with bullocks. The women have also formed a group and are collectively doing everything that was until now done only by men in their community: Ploughing, transplanting, weeding, irrigating, applying manure and harvesting. In short, these women have become a group of master farmers.
In India women have been traditionally called ‘Annadatri’ – a Sanskrit word which means food provider. But they have never been perceived as food growers. The business of growing food has been recognized as a male domain for centuries.
Today, academics say that farming in almost half of the land in India has more contribution of women than men, because men are busy working elsewhere – construction sites, factories etc. In overall farm production, women’s average contribution is estimated at 55% to 66% of the total labour.
But the shift in cultural attitudes towards women is yet to happen.
A big reason for this is, in the patriarchal society of India, the ownership of the land belongs to men. As we see in Varsha’s video, only 1% of women in Bihar – one of the most underdeveloped states of India – are owners of land. Though the state has a long going land rights movement, it has been focused on land for the landless, regardless of gender. Single ownership in the woman’s name – or joint ownership in both names — is still a sensitive topic, despite central and state government laws which allow equality of ownership.
However, the collective farming by village women of Patna now brings the focus back to the need of a gender dimension to land rights movement.
Varsha feels that wherever land is owned and managed by women, there are signs that they use it as collateral to borrow money to start up micro-businesses which generate a steady income. The women also grow in confidence and demand services from the government for themselves and their children.
If the women of village have access to land, they can provide food for the family instead of needing money to buy it.This is what is happening in Bara village today. With enough food coming in, the women of the village can soon have time to look for other ways of earning money, by making and selling handicrafts, for example. This means they are able to buy clothes, school books or medicine.
Varsha says that there may be a long way to go until women in her community get equal rights to own land, but through this farming effort, the women of Bara village have taken a bold step towards that.
 
03:16
Added: 187 weeks, 4 days
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 6991
 

Eel fishing provides an alternative livelihood to the Rongmei Naga community of India’s Manipur.
Nearly a hundred thousand people of the Rongmei Naga community live in Manipur. Achungmei – the correspondent of this video is one of them. Most of these community members live bellow the poverty line. They practice slash and burn cultivation method, growing vegetables and fruits on the slopes of the hills. However, this is not enough to support an entire family. So for their survival, the tribals need an alternative means of earning. Eel fishing in the Logtak lake is currently that other source of income for the Rongmeis.

Spread over 40 square km, Logtak is the largest freshwater lake in the north east region.  The water of the lake is mostly covered with water weeds, making it a perfect breeding ground for eels. For people of Manipur, the staple diet is rice and fish. So there is a huge demand for fish, especially eel in the local market.

Interestingly, before Manipur became a part of the Indian republic, the rights of fishing in Logtak used to be given by the king to his cavalry soldiers as remuneration for their services.

Luckilly for the local tribal community, such exclusive fishing rights are no longer given to anyone.  So the poor tribals are now free to fish and earn their livelihood through selling their catch to local customers.

Some of the community members, such as Achungmei’s family members do not fish themselves, but are regular consumers. So, by buying eel from the local fishermen they help their community.

Achungmei says that this video is an effort to highlight the way her community members depend on fishing in Logtak, so the lake -the source of their livelihood gets secured.
 
02:30
Added: 187 weeks, 4 days
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 5502
 

In a shocking tradition, women in rural Haryana are forced to mourn the death of an elderly relative by walking barefoot for 12 days.

In villages across Haryana, including Mughalpura where Satyawan Verma lives, women are forbidden from using footwear following the death of any elder while men for twelve days, while their male relatives are exempted from this hardship. 

The climate of Haryana is continental, with extremes of heat in summer which reaches above 45 Degree Celsius and sub-zero temperature in the winter. Women are made to walk bare feet irrespective of this extreme heat and cold.  In most villages they must walk for kilometers everyday to fetch drinking water or in winter or collect firewood from outside their villages. As a result, many village women get broken skin and infection on their feet and toes because of walking barefoot.

However, as we see in Satyawan’s video, despite finding it hard to walk along the rough village roads without as much as a slipper, women do not question this ritual. This is because they are fed with the idea of this being the normal way to mourn a loved one’s death. Those who disagree, stay quiet because they are scared to break an age-old tradition and being the ‘fallen’ one in the eye of the community.  

While women suffer in silence, men continue their normal life. As a community member, Satyawan is aghast at this cruel treatment of women. He is determined to protect his wife and other women members of his family from the hardship of such a meaningless ritual in future. 

He appeals to the viewers of this video to question this practice in different social/cultural forums, so that this cruel ritual of walking barefoot which he feels amounts to domestic violence against women can stop.
 
02:41
Added: 189 weeks, 1 hour
From: Video Volunteers
Views: 7694
 


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