TNM’s Haritha John wins Young Changemaker Award for reports on migrant workers

The Azadi Project that bestowed the award took note of her coverage of Manipur violence and her consistent reportage on migrant workers in Kerala.
Journalist Haritha John
Journalist Haritha John
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The News Minute reporter Haritha John has won the Young Changemaker award for 2023 by the Azadi Project for her coverage in the field of displacement and migration. Haritha is a senior journalist and heads the Kerala bureau of The News Minute. The Azadi Project took note of her coverage about forced displacement in Manipur and consistent reportage on migrant workers in Kerala. The award was given by The Azadi Project and Rethinking Refugees, along with Mariwala Health Initiative.

Haritha was in Manipur during the peak of ethnic violence in the state, reporting from the conflict zone, visiting relief centres and villages to convey the plight of the people. Her reportage in Manipur covers women in relief centres, the role of vigilante groups in the conflict, and the role of armed forces and the police in the ethnic violence that unfolded in Manipur.

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Her most recent work also includes a story on the workplace mishaps in Kochi, published in June this year, that exposed the harsh conditions of migrant workers in a state that is known to be migrant-friendly. Haritha interviewed labourers in Perumbavoor, which has a large number of migrants, and wrote how the injured among them are often sent back to their home state by employers and contractors. 

In May 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic created panic across the country and a large number of migrant workers left for their home states on foot, those in Kerala had mostly stayed back. Haritha's report, speaking to the labourers in Kerala, revealed how they felt taken care of in the southern state.

In December 2021, she uncovered the practice of funeral agencies in Kerala charging exorbitant prices for transporting the bodies of migrant workers who die in the state, and whose families could not afford to pay the amount.

Consistent with her reportage of the welfare of migrant workers, last year, Haritha found that the AAWAZ health insurance scheme, introduced by the Kerala government, benefited only a few.

The Azadi Project is a US-registered non profit organisation that provides livelihood and leadership skills, and psychosocial support to women from some of the most conflict-affected regions and marginalised communities. The award was handed over at an event 'Rethinking Migration: Azadi to Coexist', which was organised by The Azadi Project and Rethinking Refugees, in partnership with Mariwala Health Initiative, Asia Society India Center, Report for the World, IIMAD (The International Institute of Migration & Development), Danish Siddiqui Foundation Asia, Fortify Rights, and Itihasology.

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