In this pandemic some of us may enjoy the luxury of working from home–and yes, it is a luxury indeed–but, for many of our frontline workers, work from home is an impossible dream.
Among these frontline workers are female journalists who have gone above and beyond their duty. They consistently risked their lives to share stories of people in need, to provide whatever help they could and ultimately, amplify the voice of those left stranded:
1. Rana Ayyub
Under the lockdown, Rana Ayyub has shown the way forward not just for fellow journalists, but for people in general. Along with a set group of volunteers, Rana has started a relief campaign that has consistently served essential rations to people from low-income groups. In spite of the on-going fasts due to Ramzaan, she and her team continued to serve those in need.
Distribution in the temple premises today by volunteers who were fasting for Ramzan and beneficiaries were the local adivasis and tribals. This unity is what the country needs in this hour of crisis. Proud of all our volunteers. A hugely satisfying day of our relief campaign. pic.twitter.com/xNwzKwC5JD— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 20, 2020
The satisfaction when you bring a smile on their face. Today we clocked twenty five thousand families. A milestone. A big thank you to our donors, supporters and each one of you who have stood by us in this testing time . This Eid will be special for me and my team ♥️ pic.twitter.com/AOdw8Vgoz4— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 22, 2020
And she has been carrying the relief work, while sharing information about global incidents, India’s migrant crisis, and acknowledging the efforts of local heroes and volunteers.
In the end he just took 350 rupees for the petrol. He makes me believe in the goodness of humanity— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 21, 2020
I am indebted to our local friends/ volunteers who have been selflessly joining us on our relief drive. We are in Kalegaon where our local friends have guided us to identify the poorest of the poor, the ones who desperately needed help in this testing time. pic.twitter.com/CQ1TE0zUoU— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 21, 2020
2. Faye D’Souza
In a world where the lines between real and fake news are blurring with alarming frequency, D’Souza’s social media updates on current affairs shine as a beacon of honest, exigent facts.
Apart from in-depth reporting of what it is like working in PPE kits, what change in labor laws would mean, the Amphan cyclone, etc., Faye also dedicated her YouTube channel’s first earning towards buying N95 masks for an NGO run for pregnant women in rural and remote India.
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Gloves Hair cap Suit Hood Gloves 2 Goggles Shoe covers Face cover …. All tucked in, zipped up. There is a protocol to put it all on and take it off. You have to sanitise in between each step This was unlike anything else. Multiple layers of fabric and plastic, in the summer – No AC. I was in this for 40 minutes, the doctors and nurses do it for 6 hours at a stretch. They can’t eat or drink water or go to the loo in those six hours. It’s unbelievable
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This is Dr Aparna Hegde, @hegdeaparna she is my hero. She has trained as a Uro- Gynaecologist in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. She could have lived anywhere in the world and been a hot shot doctor. But, she chose to come back to India and serve the poorest along with running her practice. She has founded an NGO that gives care to pregnant women in rural and remote India. And she is an working as an honorary professor ( free) in CAMA hospital where she is setting up a new department. During covid she has helped set up the covid Ward that is delivering babies from covid positive women, many of whom come from the slums. Even though the govt has given them PPE there is still a short fall. My team and I used the first Rs 10,000 we earned from our new 8pm YouTube show to buy N95 masks for the team at CAMA .
3. Barkha Dutt
Ever since the lockdown began, veteran journalist Barkha Dutt’s on-ground reporting of the migrant crisis has helped the stories of their struggle and suffering reach the masses. Her brand of journalism ensured that these workers don’t become a ‘nameless casualty’ of the pandemic.
From Hyderabad, my report on how a Hindu, Christian and Muslim came together with different religious rituals to welcome back their neighbour, who had got Corona from the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi. This is India. Not what prime time anchors claim to show you. pic.twitter.com/ZYUujZr1Xs— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) May 19, 2020
It was only when she raised her voice on how the bodies of the workers who had, unfortunately, died in the Auralia accident were being transported, that an ambulance was arranged.
The bodies of workers killed in #AuraiyaAccident were finally transferred into this ambulance after @HemantSorenJMM objected to victims bodies being bundled into plastic, thrown into the back of open truck, with those still alive and injured. No words some days. pic.twitter.com/2pBLIYcYKV— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) May 19, 2020
To put it simply, though her work over the last two months has been anything but simple, she ensured that migrant workers received dignity in death, even if the same wasn’t afforded to them in life.
4. Ashwini M Sripad
At a time when the Indian economy is well heading towards a deep recession, journalist Ashwini took it upon herself to help the farmers with the sale of their produce.
I am just a full time Journalist with The New Indian Express & have NO EXPERIENCE IN FARMING. Just making best utilise of my 9k followers to reach customers for farmers through #RaithaSahaaya , will continue to do this till lockdown period.If this helps them, nothing like it.— Ashwini M Sripad (@AshwiniMS_TNIE) April 22, 2020
#RaithaSahaaya— Ashwini M Sripad (@AshwiniMS_TNIE) April 24, 2020
If you know any farmers in distress, please alert in this form
Name of the farmer :
Crop name :
Village and taluk name :
She has been promoting local, farmers’ produce for almost a month now, while also throwing light on other issues.
This is the state of Bommasandra- Jigani link road (4 Kms )& widely used by lakhs of workers from nearby 2000 industries. Absolutely no light. Inspite of plea from public , nothing has been done .— Ashwini M Sripad (@AshwiniMS_TNIE) May 23, 2020
Video by @ManjuSAcharya1 @DKSureshINC @elecityps @DgpKarnataka @Karmika_Sahaya pic.twitter.com/AdWE7JGyX2
5. Rituparna Chatterjee
Working in PPE kits is not easy, especially for female doctors and nurses. Because, as Rituparna’s report exposed, PPE kits were not designed keeping menstruation in mind. This isn’t the first time that Rituparna has worked to highlight the challenges that women face.
I spoke to frontline workers — doctors, anganwadi didis, journalists and relief volunteers — to understand the ordeal they are going through right now, bleeding inside their PPEs. No one thought of the need of menstruators when designing protective gear. https://t.co/JtehaIaOhy— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) May 19, 2020
Additionally, at a time when the lockdown has led to layoffs across industries, Rituparna has also been posting about job openings.
#Sisterhood! New #Job:— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) May 22, 2020
Role: Regional Editor, South Asia
Organization: Rest of World is a new international journalism publication that’s focused on exploring the impact of technology beyond the Western bubble. https://t.co/Cv43MkJSTS
It is truly commendable to see these journalists work tirelessly, not just to retain the sanctitiy of journalism as a profession, but to also restore our crumbling faith in humanity.