I am Sarita Santoshini, an independent journalist based in India, seeking out urgent stories in under-reported regions. I report on gender, social justice, and global health & development for publications like Al Jazeera English, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, CityLab, Public Radio International, The New Humanitarian (previously IRIN), The Fuller Project, IndiaSpend, and The Caravan, among others. My clips include in-depth, longform stories on how an open letter to the Supreme Court of India changed the way many Indians thought about women’s rights, Odisha’s residential schools for Adivasi girls where education comes at a huge cost, a village in Assam that relocated to save elephants, a border district that bears dire consequences of missing central funds for health & development, and how football is weaning drug users away from the dark in Sikkim.
Prior to (and sometimes along with) my reporting stint, I’ve written travel pieces for National Geographic Traveller India, Roads & Kingdoms, AFAR, and Mint Lounge, and worked briefly as a content editor. I began reporting full-time in 2015.
I graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, with a Bachelor’s in mass media in 2013.
Born and raised in the tea gardens of upper Assam and having lived across the country for education, I speak Hindi, Assamese, Odiya, and passable Bengali.
Awards and Fellowships
I received a grant from the IWMF’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists to report on a project from the Indian state of Odisha. It includes this deep-dive into residential schools, newly funded by mining companies, that are systemically eroding hundreds of thousands of Adivasi children’s connections to their land, identity, and community — echoing the violent history of such schools in Canada and the United States.
My piece “In Odisha’s residential schools for tribal girls education comes at a cost“, for IndiaSpend, was shortlisted for the True Story Award.
I received a fellowship from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to report on the intersection of malaria eradication and gender in Rwanda. During my three weeks in the country, I also focused on reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion.
I was one of three finalists of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award 2019 — the prize is a highlight of the UK Foreign Press Association’s annual awards — from among 200 entries from 55 countries. The pieces I am being recognised for include my report on women being indiscriminately affected by the process to identify illegal immigrants in the state of Assam, the role of the church in the HIV and drug abuse epidemic in the remote, christian-majority state of Mizoram, and why survivors are the experts in the fight against child trafficking.
My piece “In Northeast India Women Run the Streets“, for Bright, was a finalist of the South Asia Journalists’ Association (SAJA) awards in the category of outstanding piece of non-fiction writing about South Asia.
I was recognised with Population First’s Laadli Media Awards for gender sensitivity for my long-form print feature on the trafficked children of Silchar’s red-light area and how authorities failed them, published in The Caravan magazine. The piece was reported over a period of eight months.
I received the 2nd prize in the best article category of Press Institute of India and International Committee of the Red Cross’ annual awards on humanitarian reporting. The theme for the 2018 edition of the awards was “changing people’s lives through innovation in health and sanitation” for which my piece on an effort to reduce maternal deaths in Assam, published in IndiaSpend, was recognised.
I attended a week-long reporting workshop organised in New Delhi by the Thomsons Reuters Foundation on “Caring for Vulnerable Children in a Fractured World” which focused on issues of institutionalisation and community care.
I received an individual International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellowship to report on gender rights in northern Uganda and spent the month of October working on my reporting project there. I wrote about the South Sudanese refugee girls for whom education is everything and the women who are moving past insurgency by baking cakes, among other stories.
I was the 2016 Bitch Media Writing Fellow in Reproductive Rights & Justice, and wrote about men’s crucial role in the fight for reproductive health, the need for inclusive sex education in India, and young girls’ access to reproductive healthcare, among other issues, for the non-profit feminist publication as part of the same.
To commission a story, share ideas and feedback or just say hello, please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.