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goundla mallishwari

She worked her sweat out as a child. She was living a life rearing cattle when she, along with her elder sister was picked up by the officers of a foundation. She was given education and was nurtured. Today, she advocates child labour eradication and says, “I will pronounce my commitment to work for the eradication of child labour through my favourite video journalism. Yes, she is a video journalist who uses her weapon, the camera, to display the strength of her voice. Read the story of one of the first women to become a cameraperson, Goundla Mallishwari, who reports from the field.

Rescued From Rough Childhood:

When her mother Mogulamma died in 1999 after giving birth to the sixth child- a boy, Mallishwari and her five siblings – four other sisters and a brother were abandoned by their father Garanaiah, a farmworker. The kids moved to their maternal uncle’s house in Mallikharjunagiri village in Marpalli of Medak district. Their uncle, being a poor worker and who already had three children, found it extremely difficult to bring up the children. While Mallishwari’s eldest sister got married, she and her second sister started working to support the family. Mallishwari also did domestic chores like collecting firewood and fetching water along with rearing cattle. That summer when the volunteers of Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya(MV) Foundation visited the area, they noticed these children working under the sun. They took charge of them immediately and educated every family of the village about the ill effects of child labour. The volunteers of the foundation spoke to convinced Mallishwari’s grandmother and uncle and arranged schooling for Mallishwari and her sisters. Thus, the girls joined the MVF Aluru camp in the Rangareddy district. Mallishwari finished her upper primary education there and moved to Hyderabad for higher studies. However, Mallishwari, who was a free bird in the village felt as if her wings were clipped when she was enrolled in the bridge school. She tried to escape from there but what made her remain hooked were the cultural activities there. “I used to participate in singing and several other competitions. I also went to Delhi to take part in a competition. I boarded a flight for the first time then”, Mallishwari recollected. Mallishwari says that she is grateful to MV Foundation because if it wouldn’t have been for them, she would have never got out of her village.

Camera – Her Identity:

It all started when a foreigner visited the bridge school run by MV foundation where Mallishwari was studying. He had a camera in his hand that caught her eye. That’s when she fell in love with the little digital piece. While staying in Hyderabad, the responsibility of her two younger sisters fell on Mallishwari because of which she had to start her career while managing her studies. She secured her first job with HMTV as a camera trainee. Over a period of time, she worked with other major channels like TV9 and CVR in the camera department which was predominantly occupied by males. She said that there were hardly any women who hit the field with cameras. If there are any women holding the camera, they would confine themselves to the studio but don’t strike the field. She recollects that when TV9 trained around 40 women as camera persons, only a few of them are still in the field while the others just take up office shoots.

Female On The Field:

Ask her to climb a wall to capture a visual, she is ready. If she has to push through the crowd to gain the centre frame, she doesn’t hesitate. She has covered numerous incidents of high value and not even once she took a step back to reach any extent in order to give out the best coverage. Be it live video or recording, she has always given her best. “I have made mistakes too and learnt from them”, she says. She has always received good remarks and appreciation from people she worked with.

Routine Comments Not Worth Of Attention:

She says that she is extremely fortunate for having got to work with good teams so far. However, Mallishwari admits that she is not spared from comments aiming to criticize and pull her down. People told her that the field she chose is not for women. She was repeatedly hurt by throwing words of sarcasm but Mallishwari didn’t let any of them affect her. She gave fitting replies to a few and ignored many of them. “If not, it is difficult to sustain in the field”, she says.  

Freelancing Journey:

Owing to lack of financial growth, Mallishwari, who has been working in the mainstream media for more than a decade, quit her full-time association with it and started working as a freelance cameraperson. “Though I was in the mainstream media for a long time now, I have been earning just Rs.20,000 per month. I have secured good recognition for myself but could not grow financially at all”, she said. On one side, while Mallishwari is freelancing for different kinds of camera work, she is offering to train other women in the field for free if they join her on the ground. She calls women to take up the field profession and affirms that they can very well do it on par with men.

Shout it out to one of the very few women camerapersons in the two Telugu states.

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