Testimonials

Many extraordinary freelancers have received bursaries from the Forum. These are just a few of the comments they send us:




"With the help of the Forum Freelance Fund, I was able to get the training I wanted -- and needed -- to feel comfortable working in hostile situations. Often, with a lack of institutional support, freelancers are forced to make poor decisions while trying to develop a project. With the help of the FFF, I feel much more confident in my ability to assess risk, plan accordingly and focus on what I should be doing: producing good work." - Leyland Cecco (FFF Bursary, Tundra Group, 2018)



"I was very happy with SEPARs UK course. I think they're doing a great job...  MON AM we discussed situational awareness and instances where it could be deployed. MON PM we were joined by Gavin Rees, the director of the DART Centre in Europe to discuss the psychological impact of trauma both on journalists but also bringing in the ethical implications of interviewing people whohave been subject to trauma and how we can do our jobs more delicately. 

"TUES AM going over the preparation of security plans/risk assessments and all the considerations that need to be taken, self defence training.TUES PM Phil Cox, the British journalist kidnapped by the Sudanese government in late 2016, came in and told us his story, the thoughts that went through his head, how he made his decisions and how the reliance on his risk assessment and communication strategy did ultimately lead to his return. He also talked about the mistakes he can now see in hindsight he started making in his projects prior to his Sudan trip. Ran us through his amazing collection of work and talked about the security threats he felt he ignored, which would later come back to bite him. 

"WED ALL DAY Trauma medical training, with scenarios.

"THURS AM Surveillance and counter surveillance techniques and cyber security. THURS PM Counter-surveillance role playing -- we were assigned roles and had to go meet an "anonymous government source" in the city centre while another worked to track them. Ran through this multiple times. 

"FRI AM - Car safety checks, how to change a tire, car jacking response. FRI PM - A scenario to pull it all together: A journey past a check point, then car jacking, then we tended to a medical emergency/car accident, then we were kidnapped and"interrogated", then as we were released there was a mass casualty incident involving "explosives"

"The fact that this company is family run and they take the time to address all our questions and serve us to the best of their ability was a big pro for this course. And the idea that it's tailored to journalists by a man who has worked security for journalists for years is also huge. The location was great and the food was superb. Would recommend. Thanks again to the fund for allowing me to go, it was an invaluable experience. - Sarah Lawrynuik (FFF Bursary, 2018)

 

"Thanks to the Freelance Forum Fund, I was able to attend a hostile environment course in the United Kingdom with TYR Solutions (now part of Blue Mountain Group). Over the four days, I learned simple medical skills that can save lives, including my own, and developed a risk assessment strategy that’s become part of my workflow on assignments. 

"As a freelancer with a family, my primary goal on assignment is always to come back — to return home safely, to tell another story. Providing financial support to freelancers through the FFF goes a long way towards keeping us safe  so we can keep telling stories.  - Joshua Hergesheimer (FFF Bursary, 2015)





"Over the past year, since attending AKE’s hostile environment course in September of 2014, I have had photography and film assignments covering the conflict in the Central African Republic, Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the war in Mali, girl’s rights on the Somalia-Ethiopia border, and most recently, Boko Haram’s insurgency in north Nigeria. The security training I received was indispensable in keeping me alert and safe throughout the duration of my reporting. I was able to better take care of myself and colleagues in assessing risk, managing crisis situations or potential threats, and providing emergency medical aid with the kit I carry in the field.

"I would not have been able to attend the course had I not been supported by the Forum Freelance Fund and the Rory Peck Training Fund. I am freelance and when you are starting out it is hard to get the institutional support and training that in fact you need most critically at that moment, in those early reporting trips when you find yourself mostly on your own. As a young female journalist traveling throughout Africa and South Asia often by myself, the training has given me the tools I need to navigate my way through assignments, whether I am covering conflict or documenting everyday life."    - Tanya Bindra (FFF Bursary 2014)


"I wanted to reach out and extend a huge thanks to you, Giselle, and the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma for sponsoring me to take the course this past week at the DART Center. It was an incredible experience I will remember forever. The skills and knowledge I acquired over recent days will serve me not just in my continued work in Brazil, but throughout my life as I continue my work as an activist and filmmaker. I cannot say enough good things about the experience, it exceeded all my expectations and I am forever grateful to all of you, and the whole team at Columbia who worked so tirelessly to host all of us course participants over the past week.”
 - Jason O’Hara (Portenier Human Rights Bursary 2015)




"In April 2013, thanks to funding from the Forum Freelance Fund, 
I attended a Hostile Environment Awareness Training course run by Pilgrims Security in Redhill, England. The training consisted of a mix of classroom learning, focused mostly on planning, situational awareness, and first aid, and mock scenarios in the wooded farmlands surrounding the Pilgrims office. I've been working as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan and other conflict zones for almost five years and so this was a somewhat belated education on my part. Nevertheless, I found the lessons at Pilgrims both instructive and consistent with my own experiences.They impart precisely the kind of practical skills and attitudes that are normally gained through risky apprenticeships in conflict zones. The first aid training was particularly useful and potentially life-saving. As freelance journalists, we would not normally have access to this kind of professional instruction and resource, and I have no doubt that the assistance of the Forum Freelance Fund has better equipped me to report from conflict zones in the future.”
- Mathieu Aikins (FFF Bursary 2012)

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 "As always, you sent great people from Canada and we look forward to further collaboration. - Judith Matloff, Instructor, Columbia Journalism School