Who Are We?
Reachout Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation . Its main objective is to develop awareness and find solutions to counter negative generalisations we tend to make around race and ethnicity and create Stereotypes that leads to Prejudice and Discrimination.
Defy Stereotype, Fight Prejudice , Eliminate Discrimination
If stereotypical perceptions are to change and the inclusive idea of India has to become a reality rather than a concept there is an urgent need for policymakers, the media, civil society and public and corporate stakeholders to come together and strengthen people to people relationship.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the diverse cultures and polities of Jammu & Kashmir, the North-East region of India and the Adivasi areas of Eastern and Central India are underrepresented in the Indian mainstream.
Firstly, it is important for both the national and regional media to report the region more accurately rather than through stereotypical and sensationalist frames of reference.
Secondly all stakeholders must innovatively take steps to ensure that there is effective communication and networking to build political and cultural bridges with the culturally diverse publics of the region.
To achieve these ends the Reachout Foundation proposes the following specific projects:
- Reachout Foundation is working on capacity building modules to train grassroots journalists reporting from these regions to feed a portal/ digital channel for greater coverage and audience. The training will be provided by the Westminister University, London with trainers from the BBC, CNN and The Guardian. Such training will enable journalists to produce stories that change stereotypical perceptions and thus shift the narrative from negative images to positive stories of nation building. Such positive narratives will help in psychologically integrating the region into the Indian mainstream.
- Public Diplomacy for North-East India in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities (A series of ongoing workshops and seminars to devise and implement effective conflict resolution and communication and networking strategies to build bridges)
- The Foundation also proposes to set up the Centre for Indian Studies to make a return to and reinvestment in strategic concepts, practices and institution building. CIS researches will engage with processes of socio-economic, ecological-material and spatio-historical transformations. CIS seeks to study the contemporary nation-state in India -- its political economies and spaces, histories and cultures, identities and ecologies, margins and outsides, experiences and consciousnesses, and representations and theorisations.
- The Foundation has initiated a youth leadership programme to inform, educate and sensitise the youth on stereotype and discrimination using music and theatre modules.
Why was Reachout conceived?
Year 2012. Place Kokrajhar, Assam. Violence erupts between the Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims. The clashes continued for several weeks. 99 people were killed and lakhs were displaced. “The ethnic violence that erupted in Assam in July and August this year caused fierce aftershocks in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad - text messages warned North Easterners living here that they would be punished in retaliation for the killing of Muslims in and around Kokrajhar. Thousands of people from states like Assam and Manipur boarded trains home,” reported Kishalay Bhattacharjee, the Founder Trustee, who was covering news for NDTV from Assam, at that time.
This unfortunate event became the basis for initiating Reachout Foundation in the year 2013, Nov. This was the first ever project that was started to create awareness about racial and ethnic discrimination in India.
Reachout Foundation was established on 25th Nov,2013. The Foundation was initiated to address racial and ethnic discrimination in India with reference to the North-east region and people. This would later also include people from the Kashmir Valley, Leh and Ladakh. It is essential to submit how educated urban Indians up to the present, live in the denial of racial and ethnic discrimination- a ruthless and unrelenting reality in our country. People of India identify racial and ethnic discrimination, with the western world where there are black and white communities.
The incidents of Manipuri people not being allowed in the stores to buy grocery items, specially in times of COVID 19, is a testimony of the biases and prejudices carried by the people.
Since its inception, Reachout has been consistently trying to address this issue and create awareness around Multicultural diversity and direct to amend the discriminatory system in India. With an intangible cause as this, the acceptance of there being a problem in the behavior of people, is the key to ameliorate the ill state rests in the revolution of perception. Reachout has been trying to dispel the danger of a single story by facilitating experiences for people to counter typecasting, biases, prejudices, stereotypes and discrimination.