Our Impact

The heart of our work is providing direct financial and practical support to freelance journalists and their families globally.

Our impact
Our impact

How we help.

Our assistance grants have had an enormous impact on the lives of freelance journalists working around the world. Watch the video below to see Fabiola’s story – and how our support enabled her to get back to work.

Who we’ve helped.

Since the launch of the Trust in 1995, we’ve given assistance grants to over 2000 freelance journalists to help them at critical moments in their lives – see below for some of their stories.

Yauheniya Burshtyn

Yauheniya Burshtyn

Matthew Caruana Galizia

Matthew Caruana Galizia

Estacio Valoi

Estacio Valoi

Eman Helal

Eman Helal

Bellancile Nininahazwe

Bellancile Nininahazwe

Sim Chi Yin

Sim Chi Yin

Jovo Martinovic

Jovo Martinovic

Reda Qera

Reda Qera

Muhammad Zubair

Muhammad Zubair

Baraa Al Halabi

Baraa Al Halabi

Mujtaba Jalali

Mujtaba Jalali

Khadija Ismayilova

Khadija Ismayilova

Family of Mehmood Khan

Family of Mehmood Khan

Rehana Esmail

Rehana Esmail

Family of Rebecca Vassie

Family of Rebecca Vassie

Camille Lavoix

Camille Lavoix

Family of Cecilio Pineda

Family of Cecilio Pineda

Claudie Julieta Duque

Claudie Julieta Duque

Mohammed Lagha

Mohammed Lagha

Barbara Kavugho Kamwira

Barbara Kavugho Kamwira

Nabil Subaye

Nabil Subaye

Gaius Vagheni Kowene

Gaius Vagheni Kowene

Gulnur Kazimova

Gulnur Kazimova

Hasan Husain Qamber Yusuf

Hasan Husain Qamber Yusuf

Junpei Yasuda

Junpei Yasuda

Ezzat Mustafa Mohammed Ahmed

Ezzat Mustafa Mohammed Ahmed

Hussein Mohamed Hussein

Hussein Mohamed Hussein

Lucy Kafanov

Lucy Kafanov

Al-Migdad Mojalli

Al-Migdad Mojalli

Victoria Ivleva-Yorke

Victoria Ivleva-Yorke

Umida Akhmedova

Umida Akhmedova

Kateryna Malofieieva

Kateryna Malofieieva

Chandler Vandergrift

Chandler Vandergrift

Indalecio Benitez

Indalecio Benitez

Kholoud Helm

Kholoud Helm

Gulbahor Turaeva

Gulbahor Turaeva

Milana Mazaeva

Milana Mazaeva

Joao Pina

Joao Pina

Tracie Williams

Tracie Williams

Bile Beshir Mahbub

Yauheniya Burshtyn

Yauheniya Burshtyn is an established Belarusian freelancer working for local print and online media. She and her family have suffered at the hands of the government because of her work; in the past two years, she has been wrongfully charged twice by the police for covering public protests and for drawing attention to illegal building works. The RPT has provided her with a grant to help cover basic subsistence and medical costs incurred as a result of the repression of her work.

Matthew Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a high-profile freelance journalist who reported on political corruption in Malta, making her subject to intimidation and threats, libels and lawsuits. In October 2017, she was killed in a car bomb attack close to her home in Bidnija. At the time of her death, Caruana Galizia was the target of 42 civil defamation actions and five criminal defamation proceedings, which her family has inherited. As a result, RPT assisted Daphne’s son Matthew, who is also a freelance journalist and works for the foundation set up in his mother’s name. Grants went towards basic subsistence and laptops for Daphne’s sons to return to investigative work. They also contributed to court fees to help the family fight the defamation suits and impunity for Daphne’s murder.

Photo: Berge Arabian/Agos.com.tr

Estacio Valoi

In Mozambique, state-run media’s influence remains strong. Journalists and media who upset the authorities are often exposed to threats and intimidation, with the result that self-censorship is widespread. Estacio Valoi is a Mozambican investigative journalist and photographer whose work focuses on environmental crime and corruption in Southern Africa. In December 2018, Valoi was ambushed and detained by government soldiers while on the job. They confiscated his cameras, laptop and mobile phones and violently interrogated and threatened him. A grant from the Trust not only helped him to acquire new equipment, but also helped cover the cost of security and psychological support. He is now working again.

Eman Helal

Like many Egyptian journalists, Eman’s career began with the uprising in 2011. Reporting from various hostile environments, she was injured on numerous occasions. Although she managed these kinds of situations as best she could, she wanted to receive proper training on how to stay safe as a journalist. Yet with an income that barely covered her living costs in Egypt, the opportunities for her to do so were limited. A grant from the Trust covered the costs of Eman’s flight to Turin, Italy, allowing her to take part in a hostile environment training course organised by RISC.

Bellancile Nininahazwe

Bellancile was a freelance journalist for the national radio of Burundi, RTNB, before being forced to flee after threats of imminent arrest by Burundian security officials. At the time she contacted the Trust, Bellancile was a refugee in Rwanda with five children under her care, no income and no support. She had been unable to locate her husband after fleeing Burundi, which left her completely alone. A grant from the Trust contributed towards Bellancile’s immediate living costs whilst she adjusted to her situation in Rwanda.

Sim Chi Yin

In 2015, Chi Yin’s camera was violently grabbed from her by an angry mob, tearing a ligament in her hand. Doctors advised that while she would regain use of her right thumb in time, there would be some permanent disability and the possibility of arthritis in years to come. Chi Yin was left unable to work as the costs of her rehabilitation mounted and she struggled to cover her basic living costs. The medical care, braces and physiotherapy alone cost her thousands of dollars. A grant from the Trust covered three months of Chi Yin’s physiotherapy costs.

Jovo Martinovic

Jovo Martinovic is a Montenegrin freelance investigative journalist with over 20 years of experience. He was detained in October 2015 and accused of participating in a drug trafficking ring that he was investigating along with arms smuggling to France. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Despite the lack of evidence, Martinovic spent over 14 months in jail before he was conditionally freed after heavy international pressure on the government. His appeal is underway. Martinovic denies the charges, emphasising that the sole reason for contact with the traffickers was for the documentary that he was producing. He was unable to cover the legal fees independently, so the RPT helped him with two grants to cover these crippling costs.

Muhammad Zubair

As one of the only voices reporting on the Taliban insurgency in the Swat region, Zubair was discovered in 2008 by those opposing his work. In the following months he fled from place to place, never staying more than a few nights in one town. During that time he continued to receive threats to him and his family. As a result, Zubair limited his movements and lived with a self-imposed curfew. His lack of income subsequently affected his ability to protect himself. The Trust provided a grant to cover the costs of a security guard for six months, as well as bus transportation to a trauma centre for counselling for eight weeks.

Reda Qera

In 2014, Reda published his interview with an ISIS fighter. The interview was not well received by the extremist group and Reda was forced to flee the country immediately – with help from an emergency grant from the Trust – seeking asylum in Germany. He began learning German, attending workshops in English and applying to university, using internet cafes to carry out the research and work required. A grant from the Trust contributed towards the cost of a laptop, allowing Reda to research potential training sessions and search for work opportunities.

Khadija Ismayilova

In 2014, Khadija was formally arrested on spurious claims of “inciting a colleague to suicide” and placed in solitary confinement, before being additionally charged with embezzlement, tax evasion, abuse of power, and running an illegal business. If convicted, she could face up to 12 years in prison. Before her imprisonment, Khadija supported her elderly mother. Whilst a number of human rights and freedom of speech organizations covered the costs of Khadija’s legal team, a grant from the Trust contributed towards her mothers’ rent and well-being.

Mujtaba Jalali

After covering the funerals of Afghan refugees who had lost their lives in the Syrian conflict, Mujtaba was arrested by military police, held for two days and his professional camera confiscated. Fearing that he might be detained a second time, he fled to Holland to claim asylum. A grant from the Trust contributed towards a replacement camera for Mujitaba, allowing him to publish his own photo-reportage and find work whilst in exile.

Baraa Al Halabi

After travelling to France to receive an international award for his photography, Baraa and his wife were harassed by local extremist factions who accused him of collaborating with the West. At the time he contacted the Trust, Baraa was confined to his house and warned that members of the group were looking for him. Not long after, his home in Aleppo was damaged by a Russian airstrike. The stress of being threatened by an extremist group and wanting to protect his pregnant wife, forced him to flee to Turkey, where a grant from the Trust covered his rent and living costs for the following months.

Indalecio Benitez

Indalecio is the founder of a community radio station based in the city of Luvianos, Mexico State. Driving home with his family in 2014, unidentified men opened fire on his vehicle, killing his 12 year old son, Juan. He and his family fled to Mexico City where living costs were much more expensive. In addition to these financial concerns, the family attempted to cope with their grief, receiving emotional support and medication where necessary. A grant from the Trust contributed towards Indalecio’s basic living costs and also covered the costs of his children’s education in Mexico City. 

Kholoud Helm

Kholoud is a Syrian freelance journalist and co-founder/editor of ‘Enab Baladi’, an underground newspaper which reports on the atrocities of the Syrian conflict from their base in Turkey. After travelling to London in March 2016, she was detained in the UK after technical issues with her residency permit arose. The Trust provided Kholoud with an emergency financial grant to support her as she applied for a tourist visa to return to Turkey and normalise her residency status.  The grant covered her flights, visa application, and basic subsistence whilst in London.

Gulbahor Turaeva

Despite the risks to her life, Gulhabor continued her work as a local reporter and fixer in Uzbekistan.  In 2015, Gulbahor was told that she would be killed. Fearing for her safety and that of her husband and five children, she fled to Georgia. In exile, her daughter was diagnosed with lung cancer, forcing most of the family’s savings to go towards her medical tests and treatment rather than food and basic subsistence. A grant from the Trust provided 3 months’ basic subsistence for Gulbahor and her family as they focused on her daughter’s health.

Milana Mazaeva

After working as a fixer for two French journalists reporting on the current political situation in Chechnya, Milana was summoned by authorities and threatened. To make matters worse, she discovered that an astigmatism she had from birth was gradually eroding her optic nerves. As a freelance journalist working regularly with film and photography, Milana urgently required surgery to save her eyesight and continue her work. A grant from the Trust contributed towards the costs of Milana’s eye surgery and recuperation.

Barbara Kavugho Kamwira

Barbara was kidnapped at gunpoint, tortured, and ultimately released back to her family after her investigations into a criminal network. Further attempts were made against her life over the following weeks; one of the worst occurring as two men forcibly injected her with syringes of HIV infected blood. Barbara suffered paralysis and sciatic nerve damage to her foot as a result of the injections before fleeing to Kenya, but with no employment or stable support system she struggled to complete her physical and mental rehabilitation. The Trust provided a grant to support Barbara’s medical expenses.

Nabil Subaye

In 2016, Nabil was attacked by two gunmen and shot in both legs because of his coverage of the war. He believed their decision not to kill him was calculated to spread fear amongst his colleagues. As a result of the attack his wounds became infected, and he was transfered to a hospital in Jordan. If left untreated he risked amputation. Fellow journalists coordinated funding efforts to ensure he was able to move safely to Jordan and undergo surgery as soon as possible. However, they needed support to reach the target. The Trust gave a grant towards Nabil’s medical costs.

Gaius Vagheni Kowene

Gaius was named as a threat to the country by DRC’s main opposition leaders and would soon be “systematically dealt with” by those in power. A few weeks later a contact of his close to the intelligence services warned that secret agents had been ordered to track and arrest him. He immediately fled with the help of his professional network, but was forced to leave behind all his work and belongings. The Trust gave a grant to cover Gaius’s immediate concerns; rent, food and basic living costs for 3 months.

Gulnur Kazimova

Gulnur experienced regular threats, arrests and intimidation from the Azerbaijani security services throughout her journalistic career. In 2014, police raided the Baku office of RFE/RL where she worked and ordered its staff to stop their activities. Following the raid, the security services issued a warrant for Gulnur’s arrest, forcing her to flee with her family to Georgia. An initial grant from the Trust helped to cover her family’s accommodation in Tbilisi, but with her husband unemployed and Gulnur unable to work, a second grant from the Trust went to cover subsistence in Georgia.

Hasan Husain Qamber Yusuf

Hassan was forced to leave Bahrain and flee to Lebanon in 2011 due to his work as a journalist, combined with his work as a healthcare supervisor for a hospital accused of working with opposition forces. Fearing for himself and his young family, he made plans to leave the country. With access to public services and support for refugees extremely difficult in Lebanon, Hassan could only secure irregular freelance work and was struggling to support his young family. A grant from the Trust helped Hassan to cover school fees for his three daughters so he could focus on covering living costs for his family.

Junpei Yasuda

Junpei entered Syria alone in 2015 to report on the conflict. Reports that he had been kidnapped by the Al Nusra Front only started to filter through after he stopped updating his social media accounts and blogs. Whilst authorities attempted to negotiate his release, his wife Myu, a singer, was left to cover the rent and living costs of their home in Japan. Since the disappearance of Junpei she has been unable to work. The Trust provided a grant to cover Myu’s rent and living costs in Japan for one month, helping to relieve some of the burden as authorities searched for Junpei.

Ezzat Mustafa Mohammed Ahmed

Ezzat’s high-profile reporting from the south of Yemen gained him unwanted attention from militias controlling the northern capital. He went into hiding briefly in Sana’a after discovering that the Houthis were interrogating colleagues for his whereabouts. Along with his pregnant wife, Ezzat fled to Oman. Shortly thereafter he was separated from his wife as she fled to Saudi Arabia to safely deliver their child. At the time he contacted the Trust, he was stranded in Jordan, paying high rent and living costs, unable to find consistent freelance work. The Trust provided funds to help pay Ezzat’s living expenses.

Hussein Mohamed Hussein

Hussein is a Somalian freelance radio journalist and whilst on his way home from work one day, Hussein was attacked by a group of men who stole his equipment, including his laptop, camera, recorder, and cell phone. With his main equipment gone, it became almost impossible for him to do his job properly. With the quality and quantity of his work affected, his monthly income decreased dramatically. The Trust awarded Hussein a grant to help him replace his equipment and get back to work.

Lucy Kafanov

Most of Lucy’s work was focused in Turkey’s capital, where she was based. Following a short assignment in Germany, the Turkish authorities refused to allow her to re-enter the country, despite the valid tourist visa she was using. Not only was her apartment and all her possessions in Istanbul, but most of her contacts were based in the country. After dedicating two years of her career to reporting from the country, she was unsure how she’d be able to support herself. The Trust gave Lucy a grant to cover her legal fees as she contested the entry ban against her.

Al-Migdad Mojalli

From the onset of civil war in Yemen in 2015, Al-Migdad and his family received numerous threats, attempted arrests and accusations from high-ranking officials within the fledgling Houthi government as well as from members of local militias in the capital. Sometimes these threats would force him to seek temporary refuge away from the capital, but he would always return to continue his work as a freelance print journalist and support to visiting journalists. A grant from the Trust gave Al-Migdad the opportunity to feed his family and cover their rent for three months. Sadly, Al-Migdad was killed in 2016.

Victoria Ivleva-Yorke

During one of her reports on the civilians being evacuated from eastern parts of Ukraine, Victoria was taken hostage by separatists. She was held for four hours without charge and her belongings were confiscated. Although she was eventually released she believed her arrest was directed at her personally as a Russian photojournalist providing commentary on the conflict. The Trust provided a grant to cover Victoria’s accommodation and basic subsistence in Ukraine for one month, as well as money to replace the equipment stolen from her.

Umida Akhmedova

Umida is a veteran freelance photojournalist in Uzbekistan. In 2010, Umida was charged with insulting the Uzbek people after she made a documentary on the traditional ban on premarital sex in Uzbekistan. She was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. Fortunately, she was pardoned, but she has since found it almost impossible to find work as a journalist. Her calls and other correspondence are regularly monitored by the government. A grant from the Trust helped cover some of her living costs and buy a new camera.

Kateryna Malofieieva

Kateryna, from Donbass, Eastern Ukraine, covered the Malaysian Airlines MH-17 crash which killed all 298 people on board. Around the same time her house was shelled and she was threatened because of her job. Then in 2017, when she was covering the Grenfell Tower fire in London, she began to experience flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms. The Trust provided an assistance grant that enabled her to receive the short-term, specialist therapy she needed to help her process her trauma and manage future situations.

Chandler Vandergrift

Chandler is a Canadian freelancer living in Bangkok, who was seriously injured while covering the Red Shirt protests in May 2010. Hit by shrapnel from an M79 grenade, he was left unconscious, with multiple injuries to his body and head. The Trust provided financial assistance for specialist physiotherapy and lost equipment days after the incident. However, the blast left Chandler partially deaf, which had a tremendous impact on his work. In 2011, the Trust gave Chandler a second grant to cover the cost of a hearing aid.

Family of Mehmood Khan

Mehmood died in a suicide bombing while on assignment in Quetta. His widow is illiterate and local Pashtun culture makes it extremely hard for her to earn a living or even to leave the house. After Mehmood’s death, a grant from the Trust allowed the family to cover school fees and move to a more liberal area of Quetta so Shumaila could move around more easily. With support from the Trust, Al Jazeera and Dawn News, Mehmood’s colleagues are helping her set up a home business to try and make ends meet.

Rehana Esmail

Rehana, an NYC-based independent filmmaker, was in Pakistan in November 2016 filming in the house of the imprisoned political leader, Baba Jan, when they were suddenly given an on-site stop order. The crew’s equipment – including her camera, film gear and footage – were confiscated by Pakistani authorities. Rehana had no option but to return to New York without her equipment. A grant from the Trust contributed towards her rent and subsistence costs during this time, giving her the breathing space to replace her kit and get back to work.

Family of Rebecca Vassie

Rebecca, a British freelance photographer, was covering a story at a large refugee camp in Western Uganda when she suffered a severe allergic reaction which killed her. The guesthouse where she was staying served her sauce made with peanuts which triggered a massive asthma attack. She died in the ambulance on her way to Kampala hospital. Rebecca had been unable to secure health insurance for her long trips to Africa, so a grant from the Trust helped her family to repatriate her body back to the UK and cover the costs of her funeral.

Camille Lavoix

Camille was working on a story about refugees in Western Sahara. Shortly after her arrival there, she was arrested by six armed policemen, military and secret service agents during the night. They denied her the right to know their identity, the reason for her arrest, or to see a judge or representative of the French embassy. A grant from the Trust contributed towards the costs of a new computer so she could continue her work.

Joao Pina

Portuguese photojournalist Joao was in Argentina following the story of a local football team. As he and the reporter walked away from the team’s morning training session they were approached by a man with a gun who stole Joao’s bag along with all his camera equipment. According to the police, it was likely that someone from inside the football club had tipped off the robber. The Trust provided a grant to contribute towards new equipment for Joao, helping him get back to work as soon as possible.

Family of Cecilio Pineda

Cecilio was killed in March 2017 in Ciudad Altamirana having posted a video about the leader of the drug trafficking gang, El Tequilero, and accusing local police of protecting the group. Cecilio left behind a wife and two daughters, who were dependent on his income and who were left in shock following his sudden and tragic death. The Trust provided a grant to cover basic subsistence and health needs for the family, giving his widow the requisite time to think through how she would continue to provide for them.

Claudie Julieta Duque

As a result of Claudia’s investigative journalism, she was marked as a “priority target” for the Administrative Department for Security. She fell victim to illegal surveillance, interception of emails, threats, psychological torture and harassment by officials – she was even forced to leave the country. The attacks and threats only increased over the years, forcing her and her daughter to rely heavily on the protection from the National Protection Unit. A grant from the Trust went towards helping her with legal fees of the drawn-out lawsuits.

Tracie Williams

American photojournalist Tracie Williams was documenting the arrests of two men praying by a sacred fire at Standing Rock camp, North Dakota, when police swept in. She was arrested shortly afterwards, despite protestations that she was a journalist. Her equipment was seized as she was handcuffed and taken to jail. She was later charged with obstructing government functions and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine or face a year in jail. A grant from the Trust enabled her to pay her bills after she was left unable to work.

Mohammed Lagha

As a young freelancer in Western Libya, Mohammed has seen friends and colleagues killed due to a lack of basic safety awareness, hostile environment training and equipment. Travelling to Sirte from Misrata every week to cover stories for western broadcasters, he often encountered numerous checkpoints controlled by militias hostile to journalists. A grant from the Trust helped Mohammed cover the travel, accommodation and visa costs of attending a safety course in Turkey.

Bile Beshir Mahbub

Bile has been a journalist since 2010, working for various media outlets throughout his home country of Somalia. He has been jailed, faced death threats, and experienced some of the other difficulties that often come with being a freelance journalist. Learn about Bile’s story in his own words.