Appan Samachar, a small but vital initiative started by Santosh Sarang in the heartland of rural Bihar, may well signify the beginning of a women-led media revolution in the country! Appan Samachar is an all-female news network in rural Bihar, which brings to light crucial issues affecting the villages, which are blatantly ignored by national and even regional media. Young women riding bicycles and holding basic camera equipment go around villages voicing their opinion against issues like child marriage, witchcraft, and female foeticide, and in turn empower all the women they reach out to. To run such a revolutionary news network, Appan Samachar requires funding for equipment, and for holding workshops for aspiring female journalists.
Young girls from villages, walking around holding camera equipment and microphones, talking to the elders about the events in the village, is indeed an empowering sight in rural India; where even now women do not have an identity of their own. These girls are part of Appan Samachar, an all female news network run in Bihar. ‘Appan Samachar’ aptly translates to ‘our News’, and it is the aim of the girls who a part of it, to reveal incidents that happen in rural Bihar, that are often overlooked, or ignored, by most mainstream media. Through their brand of citizen journalism, they seek to not only raise awareness amongst the villagers, but also try and play an important part in changing their perceptions and opinions for the better. “The daughters of the poor farmers and villagers have dreams and aspirations, but there is no one to guide them”, says Santosh Sarang, a journalist and social worker, who started Appan Samachar in the year 1997. He started this organisation in an effort to bring the girls out from the confinement of the homes, and have their voices and opinions heard loud in a public forum. What better way to enable this, than to empower them to run their own broadcasting channel! The news programs filmed by the girls are aired for the villagers at the village haat (market), using projectors. Khushboo, one of the oldest members of the group, is now generally seen holding a microphone and asking the tough questions; but initially she was very hesitant to leave her home and talk to people, for fear of being mistreated and teased. Now, as a part of Appan Samachar, she feels much more empowered, as her opinions are acknowledged by people who otherwise never bothered to listen to women. Running this small but strong ‘media revolution’ requires good-quality equipment, like cameras, microphone, and tripod; and also funds required to conduct training workshop for aspiring women journalists from the villages. HopeMonkey is proud to support Mr. Sarang and the girls, and help them pave the path to women empowerment, and possibly start a new chapter on Indian news media!