Sangeetha Rajeesh, Chennai, India
Name: Sangeetha Rosemarie Rajeesh
Lives in: Chennai, India
Period in Germany: 2010 in Gummersbach and 2012 in Berlin
Educational institutions: International Academy of Leadership (IAF), International Institute of Journalism (IIJ)
Occupation: Research Communication Specialist, Development / Environment journalist
My name is Sangeetha Rosemarie Rajeesh and I am originally from India. I have a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Alagappa University, TamilNadu in India. I also hold a Certificate in Book Publishing from the National Book Trust, India, a Certificate in Data Journalism from International Centre for Journalists, USA, and I have received a few national media fellowships as well.
’I had the chance to visit Germany twice’
In order to gain experience abroad and to particularly to get to know Germany as a country, I travelled there twice, once in 2010 and once in 2012. In 2010, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom selected me as one of the participants from India to take part in a two-week course on ‘Liberal Thinking’, executed by the International Academy of Leadership (IAF) in Gummersbach, Germany. Aside from the expertise I gained through the program, I could also visit other cities like Cologne on a field trip.
In 2012, I was nominated for a two-month Fellowship Course on ‘Environment Reporting’ at the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) in Berlin in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. This specialized journalism course was held in Berlin, but I had the chance to travel to many other cities, namely Potsdam, Dresden, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Rostock on field trips and exposure visits. During that time, I was able to experience a considerable share of German culture and saw some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and cities.
‘The benefits I gained through the courses were enormous’
Being a freelance journalist for development and environment issues, both courses in Germany play an extensive role regarding my work in India. After my return from Germany I have published many articles for the magazine ‘Rural 21’. The contents strongly benefit from my experiences in Germany. As a consequence to numerous excursions and courses in Germany mentioned above my texts include well founded information and benefit from a wider knowledge. The skills that I was able to adopt and consolidate in more depth continuously enable me to understand and question environment and development issues.
I do not only benefit from the enhancement of my journalistic skills but also from the topics I am now able to write about. I learn new aspects and get insights to environmental issues every day, not least due to the scholarships. During my travels, I learned about the Germany way of life and I was impressed about their sense of responsibility to develop sustainable and environment-friendly concepts. This increased my personal environmental conscience significantly.
I brought these valuable experiences back to my home country India and shared my knowledge with colleagues. As guest examiner and lecturer at a college in India, I actively try to raise the conscience for environmental and development issues among students enrolled in the course “journalism and mass communication”.
‘I am still in contact with my funding organisation and active in alumni networks’
Until now I am still closely connected with GIZ in India, and actively involved with the IGAN network (India-German Alumni Association). I was also called in as a resource person by GIZ to provide inputs and share experiences with developing curriculum for media students in India. I have been involved with the GIZ program of Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management and now am with the Marine and Coastal Biodiversity program. My trainings on specialized journalism fields continue in India and other countries. Very recently, I participated in a Training of Trainers on “participatory methods of training for effective content delivery” by the Indo-German Biodiversity program, which was offered by GIZ India.
I could keep talking for pages about my experiences as Deutschland-Alumna because there is just so much to say. In fact, I am in touch with my mentors from both IAF Gummersbach and IIJ Berlin, and they are very supportive of my work and my interests. This relationship and the on-going networking resulted in me being the Production Coordinator for India in 2013 for a global documentary film on food security. The film titled ‘10 Billion’ (‘10 Milliarden’, in German only) was released on April 16, 2015. The Director of the film as well as the Director of Photography are from Cologne, and I was recommended to them for the project.
This experience inspired me to take an online-course in video story-telling, and in 2014 I've made a short documentary film for LANSA (Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia) – an International Research Consortium working to influence public policy on nutrition and agriculture in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Sangeetha Rajeesh on the Alumniportal Deutschland
The Alumniportal Deutschland has many benefits for me. Besides from being a central hub for like-minded people and being an excellent platform for networking, the portal has proven itself to be particularly stimulating since I have registered with some interesting groups to discuss subjects and topics that matter to me professionally.