Throughout 2015, thanks to donations from our supporters, we were able to help 149
prisoners of conscience and, in many cases, their families as well. Our beneficiaries came from 26 different countries where they experienced violent harassment due to their brave stance against injustice.
Last year we saw a marked increase in the number of persecuted journalists who had to flee their countries. Many are in hiding and need additional support until they reach sanctuary in other countries. A Rwandan journalist we are currently helping sent this email after receiving a grant from us a few months ago.
First of all thank you for your email. I would like to tell how your grant changed many things in the situation of my family. As you know, the journalists in exile are always at risk. I received intimidating threats from my country. I was desperate, wondering how my wife and daughter (3 months old) will survive. Every day, I feared to be assassinated. Now, with your grant, I am safe, I can pay the rent until April 2016. Inside the compound, there is a supermarket, I don’t need to go outside to buy in the market. I don’t know how to thank PoC, but in one word, I wish it a promotion. Now, my wife and my daughter are fine. I hope that in April 2016, I will get a final decision and be resettled. I will keep you informed. I wish you all the best!
Journalist in Exile, Nairobi-Kenya.
Our grants can have profound impact. A grant of £500 has helped this family pay for essentials and has given them a safe place to live while they are waiting to be resettled. Larger grants, averaging £4,000, have proved highly effective in enabling those who face continuing exile to regain their professional credentials in the UK.
One of our beneficiaries from Cameroon told us that his grant went far beyond helping him re-qualify; it had resuscitated his hope and preserved not only his dreams, but those of his family, after he had had to leave his country with nothing but his conscience (his words). He had been a successful consultant and consumer rights activist who had enjoyed a good life in Cameroon, but had had to flee when he became involved in a campaign to highlight government corruption, which led to his appalling torture at the hands of the security forces.
Another beneficiary from Afghanistan told us that her grant had really boosted her self-esteem and confidence. She explained how her hopes had been restored and that she felt so much more confident about her future. This brave young woman had stood up to the Taliban and had been targeted as a result, forcing her and her family to flee into exile.
What we hear time and again from our beneficiaries is that our grants signify more than ‘just money’ – they also give people hope and make them realise that they are not alone.
Many prisoners of conscience have ongoing physical and psychological difficulties as a result of harsh imprisonment and torture and all have lost their livelihoods, so experience tremendous guilt about the devastating effects their activism has had on their families. Being able to get back on their feet and be able to provide for them again is of utmost importance.
We are extremely grateful to our supporters for the positive difference they are making in so many people’s lives.
If you feel moved to help some of the world’s bravest people, please send a gift today.