Updated: Apr 10, 2022
Since the last 4 years, Cosmopolitan India has been giving Blogger’s Award in different categories to individuals and organisations creating a difference, through their work. This year, the Blogger’s Award in the category, ‘Social Reform Activist of the Year’, was awarded to Adivasi Lives Matter. There were two more nominees in this category- Dalit History and Siddhesh Gautam. All three nominees need to be acknowledged for their tremendous effort to create impact in a socially graded society. Dalit History, with around 11000 followers, has been constantly talking about, education, history and identity of Dalits, along with Dalit feminism. Siddhesh Gautam, with around 51000 followers, has been telling the stories of Dalit artists, scholars, writers and figures. His visual storytelling is a form of resistance, aimed at a caste-free world.
Adivasi Lives Matter has been working to bring Adivasi voices to the forefront, since the last 6 years. At the heart of Adivasi Lives Matter was the endeavour to preserve Indigenous languages and cultures, being gradually lost due to suppression, degradation and mainstreaming of the Indigenous communities. Hence this initiative was built around bringing the wider lens of appreciation and acknowledgement to the rich culture, language and traditions of the entire Adivasi and Tribal communities and also amplifying their voices. Therefore, Adivasi Lives Matter, trains Adivasi and Tribal youths of India to create digital content through stories, articles and videos, depicting their own way of life and culture. Creators are encouraged to create content in their own Indigenous languages. Today, it receives content in various Indigenous languages.
The Blogger’s Award, is the celebration of more than 180 Adivasi youth creators, who have contributed more than 700 stories and articles, along with over a 100 video contents, during these years. Their stories can be found at the website of Adivasi Lives Matter (About us | Adivasi Lives Matter). Adivasi Lives Matter has a strong presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, with over 52,000 followers, through which it has been amplifying the voices of its creators. The creators have been the heart and soul of Adivasi Lives Matter. When asked about her journey with Adivasi Lives Matter, Kavi Priya, a content creator, replied, “ I attended the Adivasi Awaaz Academy training virtually in 2020. I received training on writing articles and social media journalism. Post training, I started writing articles on the Kuravars, an Adivasi community to which I belong. I wanted my tribe to be known to a wider audience. Along with me, my Adivasi friends have also been writing about their communities, which has given more exposure to these communities and now more people know about us and our cultures. So, I want to thank Adivasi Lives Matter for providing this platform.” When asked how she felt about the award Adivasi Lives Matter received, she replied, “I am grateful to India Today Group and Cosmopolitan for encouraging our efforts and helping us amplify Adivasi voices. This award has motivated us to share more stories.”
In the last couple of years, 52 Adivasi communities in 13 districts saw an increase in digital literacy through the training provided by Adivasi Lives Matter in Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Tamil Nadu. Around 60% of the content creators are women. Around 42 Adivasi languages have been promoted through campaigns and projects of Adivasi Lives Matter. The very first Adivasi Awaaz Summit, conducted in 2021, for initiating conversations around Adivasi issues, registered a viewership of around 2300. During COVID-19 pandemic, Adivasi Lives Matter had campaigned to generate awareness around COVID-19. It had also distributed ration kits to 6000 families. Provision for face masks and medicines were also made, for around 15,000 people. COVID-19 pro vaccination information was made accessible to 75,000 people, in various Adivasi languages. In this endeavour, 13 content creators from Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Tamilnadu also participated.
It is evident that Adivasi Lives Matter has been successful in creating a meaningful impact, not only in the lives of its creators, but also in the society at large. All this started with an idea, a vision, to create a platform for Adivasi voices. Talking more about this vision, one of the co-founders of Adivasi Lives Matter stated, “In a country with 105 million Adivasis, who speak more than 500 distinct languages, there has never been a lack of stories. What was lacking was a mechanism where these stories would reach more Adivasis as well as the urban communities. That is what #AdivasiAwaaz has catalysed. We’ve always attempted to enable conversations among Adivasis and Non Adivasis, as well as within the Adivasi communities themselves. And none of this is possible without the collaboration of multiple media partners and voices from different sections of the society. This award is for the grassroot voices of Adivasi youth, who continue to preserve their culture and language through digital storytelling.”
We hope to continue bringing more Adivasi and Tribal stories and content, in front of a larger audience, in an attempt to conserve the culture, heritage and languages of Adivasi and Tribal communities.