Explore a selection of short films, photo essays + articles created by the One World Media alumni.

After Shock

Directed by Joshua Smith

Every month we spotlight one of the brilliant short films, photo essays or articles created by the One World Media alumni. Featuring exclusive Q+As with the filmmakers and journalists, these spotlights will explore how they developed their stories and the lessons they learned along the way.

Malawi Gold

ALICE MCCOOL

21 mins   |   Malawi   |    One World Media Fellowship

‘Malawi Gold’ is known as one of the finest cannabis strains on the planet. But can it transform the economy of this small southeastern African nationThis film follows Boniface Kadzamira, an independent MP fighting for the legalisation of industrial hemp (Malawi Gold’s lesser known cousin), and Ras Bongo Maseko, a Rastafarian priest, musician and long time campaigner for marijuana legalisation.

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Living the Chinese Dream

CHEN SHANSHAN

15 mins   |   China   |    One World Media Fellowship

For years the Chinese city of Yiwu has welcomed business-savvy Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans and Iraqis. Although China does not have laws recognising refugees, it has granted visas to migrants who want to set up businesses or pursue higher education in the country. This film by the Thomson Reuters Foundation tells the stories of three people. Ammar Albaadani first came to China from Yemen 19 years ago as a student on a state scholarship. When fighting in his country escalated three years ago, he decided to settle in Yiwu. Manar Abdulhussein, 38, left behind bombings and attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad five years ago and moved her family business to Yiwu with her husband and sons. Mike, a 24-year-old actor from Syria, who goes by his professional name, is a newcomer to the city. Mike, whose student visa expires soon, plans to apply for a business visa, and hopes to achieve permanent residency one day. Yet that is difficult to achieve under China’s immigration rules which are among the strictest in the world for foreigners seeking permanent residency. As a result, many of the city’s migrants are worried about how long they will be able to stay in what has become their second home.

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Science of Resistance

LARISSA KARL

3 mins   |   Brazil   |    One World Media Fellowship

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Little Garden /小花园

 

JIANG CHAO

23 mins   |   China   |    One World Media Fellowship

Called ‘little garden’, this old community is in the city center of Jinhua, China, which will be demolished soon. This film will see how three old men react differently to the ruthless fact that they have to leave their homes in their eighties.

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Running from Ethiopia: The Oromo Exodus

TRISTAN MARTIN

11 mins   |   Ethiopia  |    One World Media Fellowship

Feyisa Lilesa completed the marathon at the Rio Olympics with his arms raised in a gesture of defiance against the Ethiopian government. For many this was their first glimpse of the trouble brewing in this largely peaceful East African country.

But protests over land rights and political exclusion have been gathering momentum for almost a year, especially amongst the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. A government crackdown has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 500 protesters.

Running from Ethiopia tells the story of Muaz, a student who fled Ethiopia after being detained and tortured by security forces, and Jawar, who runs a popular Oromo TV channel from exile in Minneapolis. Jawar’s channel closely followed the story of Muaz as he made the treacherous journey to Europe, only to be caught in one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks of 2016.

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Seeds of Inspiration: Sudan's First Flying Robot Farmer

LUCY PROVAN

25 mins   |   Sudan  |    One World Media Fellowship

Hatem and Mohammed are two Sudanese inventors determined to stop the desert from swallowing up their country. They are obsessed with drones and robots and even though they are isolated by international sanctions and frustrated by a failing economy they succeed in building Sudan’s first robot farmer.

They decide to take part in a local inventor’s television competition to raise awareness and investment in their dream – Sudan’s first and only agricultural drone company. Their drone can plant trees, increase harvests and reduce crop damage. And they are bound by their shared belief that Africa can change its destiny with technology.

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Love In The Factories: Cambodia's Underground LGBT Community

EVE WATLING

10 mins   |   Cambodia  |    One World Media Fellowship

Love In The Factories: LGBT individuals are not tolerated in Cambodia, where gay marriage is illegal. Pressured into conforming to heterosexual expectations, many LGBT women seek refuge by going to work in garment factories.

55,000 Cambodians are victims of forced marriage each year, while 50% believe that homosexuality is caused by karma from a past life. Sor Kanika, an LGBT woman from Phnom Penh whose sexuality was unacceptable to her parents, escaped to a local factory: “I had to leave home so I could have more freedom”. Many Cambodian women find greater liberty in factories, but such safe spaces are not wholly free from predominant social expectations. Houn Sorphon fell in love with her girlfriend at work, but her parents separated them by forcing Houn to change jobs. “I was heartbroken”, she recalls, reflecting on the injustice of most Cambodians’ outlook: “love is all the same”.

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After Shock

JOSHUA SMITH

Article   |   Nepal  |    One World Media Fellowship

It was 11.56am on Saturday April 25 2015 when everything started shaking. A devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal. Over the next 24 hours, 35 aftershocks above 4.0 magnitude hit the country. The National Seismological Centre, located in Kathmandu, recorded a total of 3,000 aftershocks in the following 45 days. 

Read full article

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Korean Lovers in Baghdad

ARIJ AL-SOLTAN

25 mins   |   Iraq  |    One World Media Fellowship

Heba is a young Iraqi woman with a good job as an electrical engineer and the prospect of a decent future. Heba represents a new and growing trend among young Iraqis who find in South Korea a vision for the future. While life in Iraq seems chaotic and unpredictable, South Korea offers them an enticing example of order and stability.

But moving to South Korea is a huge undertaking. Heba risks losing her job and, along with it, her family’s main source of income. Not all of her family are supportive of it.

Korean Lovers in Baghdad follows Heba on an emotional journey as she pursues her dream and goes in search of her place in the world, encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way.

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Forensic Nurses: Fighting Sex Crimes in South Africa

SIMISOLA JOLAOSO

12 mins   |   South Africa  |    One World Media Fellowship

Forensic nurses assist victims of sexual crimes in South Africa, through counselling, physical examinations and testifying against perpetrators. Despite their high success rate in convicting rapists and abusers, in a country where only 14% of them go to jail, forensic nursing as a profession faces extinction.

Read article on The Guardian

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High Passes

COSIMA BARZINI

2 mins   |   India  |    One World Media Fellowship

In the harsh Himalayan winter, a group of women are taking charge of their future. They are India’s Women’s Ice Hockey Team.

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What World Cup Qualification Really Meant To Panama

DAN FABER

14 mins   |   Panama  |    One World Media Fellowship

Down and Out: In Panama’s poorest areas, poverty and gang violence threaten the future of young people. But Panamanians hope that the national football team’s participation at the World Cup will be a catalyst for positive change.

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Radio Zazerkalje

TATSIANA YANUTSEVICH

9 mins   |   Russia  |    One World Media Fellowship

This short film highlights the challenges faced by those living with mental illness in Russia. The central figure of it is Misha, a radio DJ whose main hope in life is a chance for being part of the crew.

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Life as a Refugee in Uganda Is Full of Opportunity and Frustration

ANNA PATTON

Article   |   Uganda  |    One World Media Fellowship

Uganda’s open policy allows refugees to start a new life—and even a new business. But not all of them thrive.

Read story on Vice

Read story on The Guardian

Read story on Devex

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Limpiadores

FERNANDO MITJÁNS

39 mins   |   UK  |    One World Media Fellowship

Limpiadores (meaning ‘Cleaners’ in Spanish) follows the history of the SOAS Justice for Cleaners campaign and provides a glimpse into the daily routine of Consuelo Moreno Yusti – a key figure in the campaign.

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51 Kilos

MOHAMED SHALABY

11 mins   |   Saudi Arabia & Turkey  |    Global Short Docs Forum

51 Kilos is about a young man who has filmed himself since he was a teenager struggling to lose weight. He finally realises the source of his happiness is not in his physical self but in his mental wellbeing, and a new struggle begins.

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Uyghur women fighting China's surveillance state

ISOBEL COCKERELL

Multimedia   |   Turkey  |    Global Short Docs Forum

China is waging a digital war on its Muslim minorities. Xinjiang has become a suffocating information vacuum. But in a small neighbourhood in Istanbul, a digital resistance has begun.

View full multimedia piece
(Produced by Coda Story and Wired)

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Lawaris: Karachi's Unknown Dead

OWEN KEAN

23 mins   |   Pakistan  |    Global Short Docs Forum

In Karachi, Pakistan, a man dies alone in an abandoned building. He is collected by an organisation which cares for the bodies of the destitute, the lost and the victims of violence in this mega-city – and the search for his identity begins.

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Living in the closet with style

ISMAEL EGUI SAAD

10 mins   |   Colombia  |    Global Short Docs Forum

Documentary short film about “La Tranxtienda”, a place in Bogota, Colombia, where the transgender community can meet and share their lifestyle hidden from society, showing their expressions of freedom and emotions in the face of society’s perceptions and judgement.

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The energy to stay

CARLOTTA DOTTO

Multimedia   |   Senegal  |    One World Media Fellowship

In northeast Senegal, the Sahara Desert is encroaching and the men are emigrating. But a group of women have pooled their resources and sought out new farming methods to save their villages.

View full multimedia piece

(Produced by Al Jazeera)

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A Childhood on Fire

JASON HANASIK

13 mins   |   USA  |    Global Short Docs Forum

When Nick Hurndon was six years old he and his two older brothers were set on fire by their stepfather in their San Francisco home. Now in his early forties, Nick is a retired Marine and is raising two sons that are about the same age he was when he was set ablaze. This is a film about childhood trauma and the effects that abuse had on his sense of self worth, and the ways in which one man is interrupting a cycle of violence so that his two sons can thrive

(Produced by The Guardian)

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Harvesting Turkey's Tea

A woman cuts tea in a field

SHEIDA KIRAN

23 mins   |   Turkey  |    Global Short Docs Forum

For centuries, women have picked tea on the steep slopes of Turkey’s Black Sea region. It is gruelling work, and much of what they earn has traditionally been handed to their husbands. But now a new generation are turning their backs on tea picking, and the industry’s survival is uncertain. This film follows the young women who hope change is coming and the older ones who fear for their way of life.

Watch now on BBC Our World [Available in the UK only]

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Utapata Mwingine (You Will Get Another One)

LYDIA MATATA

18 mins   |   Kenya  |    One World Media Fellowship

Utapata Mwingine (You Will Get Another One) is a documentary about the impact of stigma and silence surrounding Pregnancy and Infant Child Loss (PAIL) in Kenya. The film follows the founder of Empower Mama, Vivian Gaiko, a young Kenyan woman who lost her two-week old daughter after a sudden illness in 2014. Vivian’s organization supports grieving parents while raising awareness about the negative consequences of ignoring a parent’s grief. Her initiative includes holding public commemorations where parents can openly remember the children that they lost.

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Freedom on the line

Three boys in a fishing village. Two are holding up small fish

ALIZEH KOHARI

Article   |   Pakistan  |    One World Media Fellowship

600,000 enslaved fishermen in Pakistan suddenly found themselves free. What happens nextA reported work of narrative non-fiction that follows a community of indigenous fishermen in the heart of Pakistan as they grapple with their sudden—and ultimately short-lived—freedom.

Read the published story in The Baffler

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India’s COVID Warriors

PRASHUN MAZUMDAR AND SUYASH SHRIVASTAVA

25 mins   |   India  |    Global Short Docs Forum

As COVID-19 wreaks a deadly path across India, front-line heroes continue to show up for work, putting themselves and their families at great risk in this unprecedented crisis. With rare access to one of New Delhi’s busiest hospitals, over the course of a year, this documentary follows the nurses and doctors doing whatever they can to save lives and the gravediggers determined to treat those who succumb to the virus with dignity.

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Last chance for justice

A woman, turned to her left, stares into the distance

MARINA SHUPAC

23 mins   |   Kyrgyzstan |    Global Short Docs Forum

Human rights activist Azimjan Askarov was imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 for a crime he says he did not commit. Ever since then, his wife Hadicha has campaigned tirelessly for his release. Now she sees one last chance for justice, in an appeal hearing at the country’s supreme court. But as Hadicha prepares for the verdict, coronavirus is spreading across Kyrgyzstan, stopping Hadicha’s prison visits and putting 69-year-old Azimjan at risk. This film follows an extraordinary story of love, courage – and never giving up.

View the film on BBC Our World

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The Grandmother Lake

A man, wearing a baseball cap and lifejacket, stands in a small boat yellow that is in the middle of water

ARWA ABURAWA

Article   |   Guatemala |    One World Media Fellowship

Lake Atitlán is one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala, but few visitors understand the huge challenges the lake is facing. Historically prized for its clear waters, in the last 10 years growing pollution has led to toxic cyanobacteria blooms across the lake, infecting fish and posing a health risk to its users. Everyone is agreed that something needs to be done. But whatThe battle to protect the lake tells the story of a divided society and asks whether these differences can be put aside in the interest of Lake Atitlan. Or whether the state of the lake simply reflects the state of Guatemalan society – broken.

View the multimedia piece on Al Jazeera Interactive

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Education in the Shadow of Early Marriage

A young girl sits on her own in a room at a small table, studying. There's a red and yellow wall hanging behind her, a small round mirror on the cream wall to her right with a small stool under it. A open door to the right of the mirror leads to the rest of the building

HERMINE VIRABIAN

Photos & Article  |   Armenia |    One World Media Fellowship

Yazidis are the largest ethnic minority in Armenia, comprising 1.2% of Armenia’s population of roughly 2.9 million. Most live in villages in the country’s western provinces. Today, though the Yazidi community remains a conservative one, some younger Yazidi women are openly questioning widely held assumptions about gender, marriage, and the role of education in a Yazidi woman’s life.

View the multimedia piece on Open Caucasus Media

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Wifi Rider

ROXY REZVANY

12 mins  |   Palestine |    One World Media Fellowship

Life in Jerusalem is lonely for queer Palestinian teenager Shukri. That is until he discovers an online world of Western pop-stars preaching self-love and acceptance. In this digital paradise, his loneliness evaporates. But this online world isn’t real. Soon Shukri realises that in order to truly find himself, he must accept the truth about the world he inhabits. In this 16mm documentary film, we follow Shukri from the hillside apartments of Amman to the sandy shores of the Dead Sea. We watch him confront the myths about the West and the East and how they have impacted his life. We discover that as the ‘Wifi Rider’, Shukri is able to create a new identity for himself, and a new generation of Arabs like him, who feel caught between an occupation, discrimination, and the universal growing pains that come with adulthood.

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Europe’s Most Dangerous Capital

Listen to this piece on BBC Radio 4, Crossing Continents

SIMONA RATA

27 mins  |   Romania |    One World Media Fellowship

Bucharest, in Romania, is arguably Europe’s most dangerous capital city. It’s not the crime that’s the problem – it’s the buildings. Many of them don’t comply with basic laws and building regulations. Permits are regularly faked. And yet Bucharest is the most earthquake prone European capital. A microcosm of the problem is a type of building called ‘camine de nefamilisti’ or, ‘homes for those without families’. These were built during the Ceaucescu era to temporarily house workers brought in from the countryside and people who were still single after university. But after the fall of Communism many of these ‘matchboxes’ ended up in private hands and conditions deteriorated with whole families moved into spaces designed for a single person. Simona Rata grew up in one of these buildings – she returns to find little has changed since her childhood. The overcrowded blocks with poor sanitary conditions make tackling Covid difficult and the stability of the buildings remains a source of grave concern. 

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Tixinda

RHYS LEWIS

8 mins  |   Mexico |    One World Media Fellowship

Tixinda follows 80 year old Habacuc, his son and grandson as they carry out their monthly pilgrimage to the coast of Oaxaca to continue an ancient indigenous practice of harvesting the ink of a rare sea snail. The snail will then be brought back to their village to be woven into ceremonial clothes. During the film the men document the process and the risks it currently faces due to climate change and increasing development in the region.

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A story of one Soviet factory

NADYA GORODETSKAYA 

20 mins  |   Russia |    One World Media Fellowship

For almost 70 years, the Soviet Union operated on the basis of a centrally planned economy. Since the collapse of Communism in the early 1990s, Russia has experienced difficulties in making the transition to a market based economy – and so did the workers in previously state-run facilities. The film visits one of these factories, deep in the middle of the Siberian forest, to see how they are doing in their transition to capitalism. The electromechanical plant was built in the 60s to serve the Soviet military and space industries, and had to find new ways of working to survive.

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Radia

ERICA BEEBE

14 mins  |   Morocco |    One World Media Fellowship

Radia, a Moroccan shepherd and farmer whose childhood circumstances prevented her from accessing an education, demonstrates how girls and women are prescribed their fates at a young age. Radia reflects on the idea of agency and how invention, determination and achievement exist independently of anyone’s permission.

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ROT54: ARMENIA’S FORGOTTEN SPACE GIANT

MARTA MISKARYAN

25 mins   |   Armenia/UK  |    Global Short Docs Forum

Armenian radio-engineer Arevik Sargsyan has struggled throughout her life to preserve ROT54, a giant telescope built by her uncle in the 1980s. But the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that ROT54 was left abandoned for three decades. Now Arevik attempts to take control of the telescope and prove it still works. In the face of personal and political difficulties, Arevik must overcome her biggest challenge yet.

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VIDA: LOVE, HOPE AND JUSTICE IN EXILE

MARAL SHAFAFY

20 mins   |   UK/Sweden |    One World Media Fellowship

In August 2021, a trial began in Stockholm, accusing an Iranian national, Hamid Nouri of murder and war crimes. Nouri was an Assistant Prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison in 1988 in Iran, a year when thousands of prisoners were killed for their political beliefs. Among those tortured and killed was Vida Rostamalipour’s husband, Majid Ivani, a political activist then in his twenties. Vida is one of the claimants in the trial and she is preparing to testify. In this small window of opportunity, Vida deliberates how she can best articulate the impact of the loss of her loved ones. She speaks of her activism in Iran and how she still holds on to hope in the face of a regime who has faced almost no consequences over their abuse of human rights in the country. Will Nouri be found guiltyWill Vida finally get justice?

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WHEN WOMEN FLY

VALERIA LUONGO

Photojournalism   |   Mexico/UK |    One World Media Fellowship

When women fly is a photographic project about the participation of women from Cuetzalan del Progreso (Mexico) in the Danza de los Voladores, a traditionally male ritual in which five participants fly off a 30-metre pole and descend to the ground.

Read on National Geographic

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THE ESSENCE OF MEMORIES

MÉLANIE GOUBY

25 mins   |   France/UK |    Global Short Docs Forum

A student at the renowned perfumery school of Versailles, Abdulkader Fattouh dreams of becoming a “nose”, an elite profession hard to break into: there are more astronauts than perfumers in the world. But the young Syrian’s determination is rooted in experiences most of his classmates could hardly fathom. To get here, Abdulkader fled a war, crossed the Mediterranean, slept in the street, and risked his life more than once. As he enters his final year at the school, he must create his first perfume for his graduation project and embarks on a creative journey to transcend his own. 

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LEBANON’S WILDFIRES

LEMMA SHEHADI

Lebanon  |    Fellow 2022

In 2021, wildfires across the Eastern Mediterranean devastated the ancient forests of Lebanon. One of the most affected areas is also the country’s most marginalised: the Akkar region of the north. Rising temperatures and poor forest management have contributed to this increase.  With the country in an economic crisis, can local goat and sheep herders protect this unique environment?

Listen to Lemma’s story here (from 11.09) and read her story in The Guardian here

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‘FINDING ALAA’

MYRIAM FRANCOIS

25 mins   |   France  |    GSDF 2021

Azdyne Amimour’s son Samy was one of the terrorists responsible for the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Samy was one of the attackers at the Bataclan Hall; he was killed when police shot at him and his suicide vest exploded. Samy left behind a daughter, Alaa, born just days after the attacks in France. Amimour has never met her and even after years of searching, he hardly knows anything about her – except that she is in a camp, somewhere in Syria. In Finding Alaa, Amimour takes the first legal steps to find his granddaughter, while grappling with pain, guilt, grief and shame about his son.

Finding Alaa was co-commissioned by CBC and BBC. Watch the film here.

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‘THE CARETAKERS’

BISWAJIT DAS

13 mins 10 seconds   |   India  |    Fellow 2022 and GSDF 2023

Assam state in northeastern India, where farmers and elephants jostle for space and food, has one of the highest incidences of human-elephant conflict in the country. Conservationists from Hati Bondhu, a nonprofit organisation, are working with farmers in Assam’s Golaghat district to pursue a more peaceful human-elephant coexistence. Biswajit’s film captures a fascinating experimental project in action.

Mongabay and Mongabay-India commissioned a version of the  film.

Watch Biswajit’s film here.

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MODERN DAY SLAVES

GABRIELA BARZALLO

  Ecuador  |    Fellow 2022 

More than 100 current and former workers who harvested fibre are seeking legal compensation from Furukawa, a Japanese company that has operated in the Ecuadorian cities of Santo Domingo, Los Rios and Esmeraldas for around six decades.  They say their human rights were violated by the company’s working conditions. Gabriela went to meet the former workers to hear their story.

Read Gabriela’s story here.

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INDIA’S COAL DILEMMA

PAWANJOT KAUR

18 mins 54 seconds   |   India  |    Fellow 2022

The Financial Times partnered with One World Media Fellow Pawanjot Kaur to tell the story of the people who live in Jharkhand, a major coal mining region of India. Pawanjot documents their lives, dreams and worries, as they prepare for an uncertain future.

Watch Pawanjot’s film here.

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