Stories from the Grassroots: The Greengrants Blog
May 16, 2013 | No Comments
|“I have never deceived my homeland. How couldn’t I make the pain and suffering of the society, which taught me how to live, a part of myself? To protect the interests and rights of these people is our responsibility.” –Dayamani Barla, December 2012|
Pioneering Indian journalist and indigenous activist Dayamani Barla will receive Cultural Survival’s first-ever Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award on May 23 in recognition of her outstanding human rights work and dedication to indigenous people’s rights.
Barla was chosen from nearly 60 nominees by a distinguished panel of indigenous leaders. Global Greengrants Fund and Women’s Earth Alliance, who jointly nominated Barla for the award, congratulate her on this prestigious recognition.
Barla was one of the first adivasi, or indigenous, journalists in India. Often exposing herself to great personal risk, she has long been on the forefront of people’s movements against the industrialization, urbanization, and corporate globalization that have led to immense human rights violations in her home state of Jharkhand. Through her writing, she sheds light on adivasis’ deep connection with their environment and unearths injustices that threaten their livelihoods, dignity, and very survival.
“Barla has been a trailblazer on many fronts, charting new waters as an indigenous woman to ensure the voices and perspectives of adivasi people are heard by the larger mainstream society,” says Terry Odendahl, executive director and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund. “She is an example of a selfless and courageous activist, who powerfully demonstrates how indigenous women play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of their communities, while also protecting the rights of nature.”
“Dayamani ji exemplifies how indigenous women’s leadership is central to promoting democracy, building inclusive people’s movements, and protecting their rights, culture, and spirituality at a time when an unfair economic paradigm has threatened their livelihoods and ancestral homelands in India and beyond,” says Rucha Chitnis, South Asia Program Director of Women’s Earth Alliance.
Dayamani Barla’s environmental and civil rights activism has included:
- Working with colleagues to prevent a global mining giant from seizing and plundering 12,000 acres of pristine ecosystem and displacing 40 indigenous villages in the Indian state of Jharkhand.
- Upholding people’s democratic and constitutional rights to assemble and dissent. Barla was jailed from October 18–December 21, 2012, for leading peaceful protests against agricultural land grabs and demanding job cards for rural poor.
We are inspired by Barla’s commitment, and we celebrate her courage. Thank you to Cultural Survival for honoring and celebrating the audacious, critical work of Dayamani Barla, an indigenous defender of the rights of people and the planet, who has fought brave struggles for the greater good of adivasi communities in India. This international acknowledgment will play an important role in bringing attention to the undemocratic attitude the Jharkhand state has assumed towards social activists. Learn more about Cultural Survival and the Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award.
May 13, 2013 | No Comments
Indigenous activists around the world are fighting for their identities and their very survival. Ivan Torafing, an advisor to Global Greengrants Fund’s Next Generation Climate Board and an indigenous youth leader with Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network, shares why they keep going in the face of worsening criminalization.Read more
Apr 11, 2013 | No Comments
Executive Director Terry Odendahl reports from the Council on Foundations annual conference. Read her thoughts on why U.S. foundations should pay more attention to the rest of the world.Read more
Apr 9, 2013 | 2 Comments
Women manage every aspect of farm work, but are not considered farmers. They toil in the fields—planting, sowing, weeding, and harvesting—but are not landowners. But in fact, the majority of the female workforce in India is engaged in agriculture. Rucha Chitnis looks at gender inequality in the fields of India and how grantmakers should respond to create positive change.Read more
Apr 3, 2013 | No Comments
With a glimmer of satisfaction in his eye, the village elder stood stoically on the large concrete box that protects Tilwari, India’s water supply. But there was more than just happiness in the village elder’s eye. There was pride. Pride that his community built the water system itself.Read more
Mar 8, 2013 | 2 Comments
In honor of International Women’s Day 2013, our outspoken Executive Director talks about the relationship between women’s rights and environmental activism, and why Global Greengrants Fund is prioritizing grantmaking with a gender lens.Read more
Mar 7, 2013 | 2 Comments
This is the first in a four-part series on women’s role in agriculture in India. Rucha Chitnis is the South Asia Program Director of Women’s Earth Alliance and an advisor to Global Greengrants Fund. She recommends grants in Jharkhand and West Bengal.Read more
Feb 21, 2013 | 4 Comments
Climate change is already altering life on our planet. Sea levels are rising, storms are striking with unprecedented intensity, and farmlands are becoming virtual deserts. In Africa alone, as many as 185 million people will die this century because of… Read more
Feb 21, 2013 | 2 Comments
A Dutch court ruled on January 30 that Royal Dutch Shell is responsible for a series of spills that devastated a Nigerian community. The milestone ruling sets a precedent that multinational climate polluters can be held accountable for environmental damage they cause in impoverished, resource-rich countries like Nigeria.Read more
Feb 20, 2013 | One Comment
In a major step forward for global climate and human rights, paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper has promised to stop bulldozing Indonesia’s rainforests. But in attributing APP’s new policy solely to market pressure, U.S. media have glaringly omitted the role grassroots activists have and will continue to play in holding APP accountable for its environmental and human rights record.Read more