Charkha marks its 15th Founders Day

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New Delhi, Dec 8(ANI): Charkha Development Communication Network, a Non-Governmental Organization, devoted to highlighting issues related to marginalized communities through the media, marked its 15th Founders Day during a quiet event held in the environs of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti at Tees January Marg in the national capital on Monday.

The day marks the birthday of Sanjoy Ghose, who as a grassroots social activist wrote a column on rural issues called 'Village Voice' in a leading daily in the early 90's, which brought home the power and reach of the media to highlight issues of the rural marginalized sections to reach policy makers.

Charkha was founded on this premise and today runs a trilingual feature service in Hindi, English and Urdu to further the cause.

Addressing the function, which was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Chief Guest, Dr. Mirai Chatterjee, Coordinator Social Security SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association) spoke about the crucial role of communication and information tools in social action on the ground.

Social activists from different regions of Charkha's work were present at the function to share their issues, perspectives and the importance of interventions in communications in bringing about change.

Narayan Jee Chaudhary, Coordinator Mithila Gram Vikas Parishad, based in Bihar's Darbhanga district, who works with flood-affected communities, spoke about his experiences with farmers who were promised cash compensation by the Government for crops destroyed by the floods.

One of the most powerful statements came from Mhd Iqbal, President of People Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR), a disability network in Ladakh.

Immobilized by severe disability himself, Iqbal said that rather than undermining the talent and capabilities of disabled persons, society needs to be inclusive and open up opportunities.

He said that Charkha has played a stellar role in achievements. Through an article on him sent by Charkha Features and published in Yojana, a magazine brought out by the Planning Commission of India, a disability network in Bihar contacted them leading to mutual sharing and networking. Also through Charkha intervention 350 Kgs of newspapers were flown gratis by Air India to Leh for use in making recycled paper items for sale by his network.

The event drew together several people, who had benefited from Charkha's work to draw perspectives from the ground on development issues.

Afsana Rashid, a journalist based in Srinagar winner of the Sanjoy Ghose Media Fellowship and Humanitarian Award 2006 spoke of the immense growth in her own perspective as a journalist.

From daily reportage of events in an area of conflict, she and several other fellow journalists were able to evolve indepth articles on social issues. (ANI)

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