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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Jayanti Buruda Is The First Female Journalist, As Well As The Voice Of Koya Community

  • IWB Post
  •  June 20, 2019

Koya is a tribal community from the southern region of India. The community has a tradition of early marriages and therefore the literacy rate among girls wobbles at a mere 15%.  Jayanti Buruda belongs to a progressive family of the Koya community and thus has somehow managed to become the first female journalist from the community.

Despite belonging to a community where girls hardly go to school and have little to no infrastructure for education, Jayati dared to nurture a bigger dream. Her father fueled her dreams as she along with her four sisters together became the first educated family in the tribe. In an interview with The Better India, she said, “Ours is the first educated family in the tribe in Malkhangiri.”

When she expressed her desire of becoming a journalist, the idea struck as a rather odd one to her parents and the community. But already boasting of a daughter (Jayati’s sister)  who was the first graduate in the community, her parents knew better than hampering her dreams. She said, “My parents weren’t sure how to react to my decision. There wasn’t much money to educate me. Yet they supported me.”

Jayati who is today the voice of her community and the only female from her family who has ever made it to the mainstream media was fortunate enough to find the right kind of help. Jayati pursued journalism at the Central University of Odisha which was located at a distance of 150 km from home and had no source to pay for her hostel fee. She was fortunate enough to be taken up by a friend’s uncle and his family who looked after her like their own daughter. Later on, she was helped by filmmaker Biren Das who trained her, during her internship when she faced a financial crunch.

After years of struggle and determination, Jayati is now working with Kalinga TV. She has become the voice of her own community and reports from Malkhangiri, the place where she and her community lives. The area is the Naxalite hotspot of Odisha and also houses Bangladeshi refugees as well as Sri Lankan Tamil. If that was not troubling enough Jayati is constantly under the Police’s radar because she is educated, a tribal and a woman and someone who can speak English. “The police think I am a Maoist,” she says.

Jayati’s struggle has taught her the importance of education and thus she has started an NGO that promotes and focuses on education and specifically focuses on the girls from her tribe. She also produces children’s programs and works with Radio Active 90.4 FM for the same.

She proudly states the fact that, “Ours is the first educated family in the tribe in Malkhangiri,” and is on a mission to empower her community by education and by becoming its voice. She is the only female journalist among all the men where she works and is not shy to talk about the gender biases that she faces on a daily basis.

H/T: The Better India

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