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Uncovering stories with a human dimension


Can journalism build a better world? Thomson Foundation has the privilege of training and working with journalists around the globe who are at the forefront of the world's most important stories.

To mark the UN's #WorldHumanitarianDay, hour by hour, we are sharing some of the humanitarian issues covered by 24 of our alumni in recent years, from tackling the deepening refugee crisis and reinventing dysfunctional areas of healthcare, education and the justice system, to quelling the rise of intolerance and extremism.


Syria: Potential crisis upon crisis Much has been said about coming to terms with the new normal, but in war-torn countries such as Syria, the effects of Covid-19 could take the country into an even deeper crisis. Photojournalist Hasan Belal has been documenting how Syrians, who have already endured a great deal of trauma and tragedy, are struggling to properly avoid the virus.

Morocco: A fenced future for migrants Documentary maker, Houda Hasswane, focuses on the African migrants who flock to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Morocco's Mediterranean coast. With six-metre fences - often topped with barbed wire or even coils of razor blades - most of these migrants can go no further. Melilla is a tragic example of how to fence off migrants. It does nothing to solve the urgent problems behind the refugee crisis.

Global: Tackling racial injustice

As a journalist trained in trauma and conflict reporting, Sudanese-British journalist, Yousra Elbagir, is actively supporting black journalists to deal with traumatic news content, particularly around the latest Black Lives Matter movement. Her recent work focuses on violence against black women and the limiting cultural narratives that contextualise the black female experience.

India: Citizens facing statelessness Using the example of Fatima Begum, a Bengali Muslim woman left off Assams citizens' list and facing statelessness and detention, journalist Sarita Santoshini, warns that the Indian state is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. To be recognised as an Indian citizen here, an individual must prove their links to the region dating back half a century. Those left off the list face being sent to detention camps.

Rwanda: Jailed for having abortions Rwandan journalist, Christophe Hitayezu, celebrates his work being published by The Guardian on the release of 50 women who had been jailed for having abortions. They were released after a personal pardon issued by the country's president, Paul Kagame. A woman's right to safe abortion is a global concern and even controversial for most countries.

Benin: Hard-knock life for street kids Giving vulnerable street children from Benin, which ranks among the worlds poorest countries, a chance at education is the message in one of journalist Florida Zossoungbo's reports. Filmed in the city of Cotonou, Florida highlights how life on the streets for these children is unremittingly tough. I want to draw attention to their suffering so that a solution can be found to help them.

Bolivia: Harsh life for young miners Mobile journalist, Leonor Suarez, went inside the silver mines of Potos , Bolivia to report on the harsh, life-threatening working conditions of miners. As the tunnels grew darker and more claustrophobic, the air harder to breathe, she highlighted how these miners, including children as young as 15, were braving the risk of mine collapses to make a living.

Ireland: Anxiety for asylum seekers Visual journalist, Mostafa Darwish, reports on how containment measures like testing and social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis are near impossible for asylum seekers in Ireland who are housed in shared rooms with strangers and living in crowded spaces. He draws attention to the high levels of confusion and anxiety for people seeking asylum in Ireland in the current crisis.

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Mexico: An uneasy passage to the US Ecuadorian journalist, Gisella Rojas Rodriguez, highlights the struggles of the people of the migrant bus travelling through Mexico in search of a better life. A now annual event, the migrant bus is formed of about 600 people packed into buses who are fleeing Central American countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras to try to claim asylum in the US.

Syria: Surviving the siege In the face of horror, journalist Waad al-Kateab filmed as her husband, a doctor, tended to the endless casualties, the daily chaos and devastation of the war in eastern Aleppo, Syria. Waad bravely humanised the victims' stories and chronicled their pain without intruding. Her recent documentary, For Sama, with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Edward Watts has picked up numerous international awards.

South Africa: Gender violence crisis Robin-Lee Francke is no stranger to violence against women, having been pistol-whipped, beaten and shot at in the course of her work in South Africa. She looks at the crisis of violence against women using the examples of Saadiqa Newman, a 26-year-old mother-to-be who was shot eight times by gang members and six-year-old Nathlia Pienaar who was struck in the head by a bullet while playing outside her home.

Vietnam: Child brides for sales Photojournalist, Yen Duong, highlights how girls as young as 13 from the rural mountains of Vietnam are disappearing from their homes with increasing regularity. Many are trafficked across the border into China where the one-child policy and long-standing preference for sons has heavily skewed the gender ratio. They are then sold as brides for the price of a buffalo .

Kashmir: From clampdown to coronavirus The social isolation of lockdown has long been a reality for the people in Indian-administered Kashmir, one of the world's largest militarised zones. Independent journalist Aamir Ali Bhatt, shares stories of K
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