Jayanthi Buruda, citizen next door

“Jayanthi Buruda is the youngest tribal scribe from Odisha who is the first woman Koya journalist to report from conflict areas of Malkangiri.

She owes her interest in helping the needy and social work to her farmer parents who inspired her despite their meagre resources. She said she chose journalism as it would help her work for her tribe and community. Despite the backlash from people, she struggled to purse her degree in mass communication from Sholapur and is now working for her district. She feels that she is putting her education to good use.

Recounting her tragic experience of once finding two children near the corpses of their murdered parents, she says her community suffers from a fear psychosis of police.

Jayanthi currently takes care of 8-10 children who were orphaned after their parents were killed in encounters and other violence, and provides for their food and education.

“I didn’t know how resources would flow in, when I decided to help these children,” she says.

Jayanthi’s struggle and courage inspire many young tribal girls. She says that it is a matter of pride for her that the tribal community recognizes her as someone who has made her way through in mainstream media. However, in her early days, the community had reservations about a young girl travelling by foot into Maoist strongholds for her journalistic work.

Her knowledge of the tribal language facilitated better understanding of issues from their perspective. She was able to express herself in Hindi and had no trouble relating to an English audience.”

Submitted by Sriveda Baswapoor

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