A multilingual workshop-style webinar was organized as part of the HENI equilogues series which intended to bring out voices from marginalized communities across diverse settings in India. The five participating speakers belonged to and represented different communities namely
- Rohini Chhari from Bhoomi Gramottham Evam Shubhagi Gramin Vikas Sanstha speaking for the Bedia community from Morena, Madhya Pradesh,
- Lilawati Waghare from Amhi Amcha Aarogya Sathi in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra,
- Atish Indrekar Chhara from the Budhan theatre group, voicing concerns from the Chhara community in Ahmedabad,
- Md Gufran Alam from the Aman Biradri trust that works with riot-affected communities in Delhi
- C Mahadeva from Zilla Budakattu Girijana Abhivruddhi Sangha, representing the Soliga tribes from BR Hills
The speakers shared the experiences faced by these communities during the Covid pandemic and lockdown which was followed by smaller group discussions in three break-out rooms. The purpose of the break out rooms was to initiate group discussions among participants to promote group learning. The audience were randomly allocated across three breakout rooms, where a moderator and a rapporteur facilitated group discussions. Each break out room had about 15-17 participants. In total, around 50 people participated in the webinar in different roles.
Similar themes emerged across different group discussions indicating how different marginalized communities were experiencing similar problems such as loss of livelihood due to restrictions on mobility, difficulties in accessing social protection measures like cash transfers, ration delivery, delays in access to healthcare, stigmatization of community members by outsiders, disruption of socio-cultural norms due to physical distancing, lack of trust and engagement with authorities. The audience strongly reflected how existing inequities within these communities have been exasperated during this pandemic. The participatory format of the webinar and inviting community representatives as speakers were well received by the participants.
The context was set by
- Rakhal Gaitonde (HENI steering group member, Professor SCTIMST ), and the session was moderated by Prashanth NS (HENI secretariat and faculty lead, IPH ).
- The closing remarks were by Nakkeeran Nanjappan (Professor, Ambedkar university).