NEWSLETTER: October 2 – Another Afghan family touches down in Canada


October 2nd, 2021

This weeks highlights

  • Another Afghan family touches down in Canada – read the story of their journey
  • Are you ready for Night for Rights on October 20?
  • Success story: JHR Helps reinstate Syrian teachers in schools in Turkey
  • We’re hiring: Junior Curriculum Associate (MMFC program) & Regional Trainer (Solutions Journalism program)


         Another Afghan family touches down in Canada

    – read the story of their journey


The story of the just-arrived Shams family- whom JHR and our coalition supported from Kabul to Canada – was published in The Star yesterday — Screenshot/ The Star


Another seven vulnerable Afghans, including three journalists and a family, left Kabul this week, bringing our tally of successful evacuations up to 118. We also celebrate the arrival of an Afghan family of 27 people in Toronto on Friday night, marking the safe completion of their harrowing risk-laden journey to Canada, facilitated by JHR and our partners at the Veteran Transition Network and other coalition members. We continue to work 24/7 to evacuate more people on our growing list of 450+ Afghans whose lives remain at extreme risk for their work as journalists and humanitarians.

This just-arrived family, The Shamses, dedicated their lives to various human rights causes and were targeted for their work numerous times over the past decades. The danger they faced intensified since the Taliban takeover in Kabul. The family matriarch’s home was burned down in July.

Read the story of their journey from Kabul to Canada in The Star and watch CTV W5 documentary Escape from Kabul – in which Roya Shams, a young woman from their family who fled to Canada nearly 10 years ago, relates how she mustered all her resources – including her contact with JHR – to begin the massive effort from Canada to rescue the Shamses.

We are grateful to the generous support of CIBC, Unifor, CWA and CBC for these evacuation efforts. We can not do this work without their help and that of the hundreds of donors who have contributed to Evacuate Journalists Out of Kabul fund. In the absence of the government funding, we continue to rely on charitable donations and every dollar donated helps us continue this life-saving endeavour.

Are you ready for Night for Rights
on October 20?

JHR Board Chair Michael Cooke at the 2019 Night For Rights.


On the gala front, we are going full speed ahead in planning Night For Rights, taking place at the Evergreen Brick Works on October 20, from 6pm to 9pm! After COVID-19 forced our annual fundraiser on a hiatus in 2020, it is more important this year than ever before for JHR to raise funds to support our work and the teams that execute it in Toronto and around the world. We are grateful to our friends in corporate Canada for their sponsorships, including Gold level contributions from Power Corporation and Global News, as well as table purchases from dedicated Board supporters including Derek and Adrienne Fisher and Peter Donolo and Mary Cruden, and we continue to welcome support. Tables for up to 8 people are available for $8000, individual tickets for $1000, and please visit to contact us for sponsorship opportunities.

This year, mindful of potential public health concerns, we’re also offering our supporters the opportunity to join the party online with a fabulous virtual experience in the works! Virtual attendees may sign up for the premium experience available to residents of the Greater Toronto Area (that comes with a virtual table for 8 people, three-course meals delivered at home and sponsor recognition). Please contact us to express interest in purchasing individual virtual tickets and international tickets at discounted rates.

We will be announcing speakers and other event highlights in the coming days. Stay tuned!

JHR helps reinstate Syrian teachers
in schools in Turkey

JHR media partner Radio Nasaem did an episode on the dismissal of Syrian teachers, leading to the Syrian Educational Commission’s formation.


After the civil war in Syria drove millions of refugees into Turkey, Syrian children were unable to access education in Turkish public schools due to the language barrier they faced. The Turkish government thus hired over 12,000 Syrians to teach them in Arabic-language temporary education centers (TECs). However, over time, as their expectations for Syrians to integrate grew, the government began phasing out TECs and moving Syrian students into the Turkish public school system. In late 2020, over 12,000 teachers were summarily dismissed. The government said that they were not qualified to teach at Turkish schools and instead offered them jobs in agriculture — a clear degradation of the teachers’ labour rights as well as complicating the access to education for Syrian children, especially girls.

The JHR-Gazientep office picked up the case of Syrian teachers’ termination in October 2020. The team designed an action plan to mobilize Syrian journalists to raise awareness about the issue and bring the various actors to a common platform to devise a solution. JHR organized a roundtable in March 2021, where the media, civil society, politicians and other decision-makers from the Turkish government convened to discuss best practices to address this issue.

Moreover, JHR trained and mentored journalists and media outlets to cover the issue through 25 reports, including 6 radio show episodes and 1 TV show episode. During one such radio show on Radio Naseem, the idea for the creation of the Syrian Educational Commission was born. The Commission, which included representatives of Syrian teachers from almost every state, held discussions with the government on behalf of thousands of teachers.

After weeks of their negotiations, the Turkish Ministry of Education issued a decision on September 10 that asked Turkish schools to appoint the Syrian teachers, provided that the hired employees must have at least a bachelor’s degree and have Turkish language skills (level B1 and above). Their appointment will be supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Turkey and the appointment will be supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Turkey and the Turkish Red Crescent.

We’re hiring for two positions!


Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is seeking to hire a Regional Trainer to conduct workshops and manage newsroom partnerships in eastern Canada for its Solutions Journalism program.

CONTRACT TYPE: Part-time (30 hours per week)
START DATE: October 2021

JHR is also looking to urgently hire a Junior Curriculum Development Associate to support the coordination, communication and administrative work associated with the curriculum development for its ‘Mobilizing Media to Fight COVID-19’ program. The program is currently being implemented in 12 African and Middle Eastern countries.

LOCATION: Toronto, Head Office
START DATE: October 2021

Click here for full job descriptions.


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Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge the land on which the Journalists for Human Rights’ head office operates and recognize the longstanding relationships Indigenous nations have with these territories. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Tkaronto (Toronto) is in the Dish with One Spoon Territory and is home to Indigenous peoples from many nations across Turtle Island who continue to care for this land today.

To read more on JHR’s land acknowledgement, click here.

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