Video Volunteers

A boy’s hand chopped off because he drank water from a pot meant for other castes. A couple and their unborn child murdered over their inter-caste marriage. These are just some of the atrocities and injustices captured by new media activists who are finding their voice in India.

Video Volunteers is empowering India’s poorest citizens to participate in the global communication revolution. This nonprofit creates a platform for Indians to discuss the issues that matter but are often overlooked by the mainstream media: poverty, inequality, and injustice.

So how does this work? In partnership with local NGO’s, Video Volunteers trains eight to ten community members to run local production units. These units produce ‘video magazines’ on different social issues, which are chosen by an editorial board of community members, the production team, and partner NGO’s. These video magazines are screened in local villages with the hope of fostering community discussion, debate, and problem solving.

Taking things one step further, Video Volunteers’ IndiaUnheard program is working to establish a team of journalists in every state in India, effectively creating a platform for communities across India to connect with each other and with a global audience. All of the correspondents come from marginalized backgrounds and produce stories about their own communities, thereby creating a network for underrepresented stories to reach a global audience. The vision is to foster local change from the ground up.

ChangeStream Media recently trained new media activists in Guatemala, and plans to teach digital storytelling skills in Seattle and Haiti this year. Like Video Volunteers, we believe that empowering people to tell their communities’ stories can make a difference. We salute this innovative organization, and encourage you to check them out.

–Post by Meagan Winnie