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Stories, bios ... get inspired

  • Paul Bondsfield

Sarah Begum

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical, Sarah Begum is an Immersive Investigative Journalist, Anthropologist-Explorer and Public Speaker. Sarah has been exploring the world, studying tribes and different ways of life whilst investigating current affairs and making a humanitarian effort to help people along the way through her work.

Manya Tribe Homecoming Ceremony in Shai Hills, Ghana

In 2010, Sarah travelled deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, where she lived with the Huaorani tribe and immersed in their way of life, hunting with warriors, gathering with women whilst investigating into the impacts of oil exploitation on their land. On this expedition, Sarah was made Queen and married to a warrior to create an alliance and send their message about protecting their land through her film. Sarah became the youngest person to make a first film in the Amazon jungle at the age of 21 with a premiere of “Amazon Souls” held at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The film has been endorsed by rainforest charities Sky Rainforest Rescue, Rainforest Alliance, celebrity Adventurer Bear Grylls and has released on various platforms worldwide.

Her interest in tribes only grew as she embarked on an epic road trip covering 18 states in the USA in search of Native American culture and captures their stories for a documentary, 'The Lost Nation' and a book she is currently writing. Her work aired on Discovery Channel of a photo she took with a woman from the Berber tribe who adopted her in the Atlas Mountains and she was welcomed as the only westerner into the Homecoming ceremony of the Manya in Ghana. From investigating the mafia system in rural Sicily to Poland’s most dangerous football hooligan gangs and Amsterdam's prostitutes, Sarah thrives in her undercover journalism. Sarah has survived in some of the most dangerous cities in the world. In Caracas, Venezuela, Sarah worked as a Broadcast Journalist, presenting international current affairs for an English TV channel whilst surviving the city. She returned to the murder capital of the world to film undercover in Latin America’s largest and most dangerous slums and to investigate how social, economic and political issues have impacted life in Caracas. Sarah released her report, “Surviving Caracas” just before the elections in Venezuela in December 2015.

Sarah trains in martial arts and is an activist for environmental, human and women’s rights, fighting to shine light upon issues internationally. When Typhoon Haiyan took the Philippines by storm in 2013, Sarah made a documentary about the survivors whilst rescuing the village of Lanao with aid. It was aired on Sky and raised enough money to rebuild the entire village. Sarah visited the refugee camps in the Calais jungle and taught the refugees how to use their existing skills and the entrepreneur schemes available to them to start their own businesses whilst they were waiting for citizenship. In Ghana, Sarah has reported stories that have made a difference in the lives of her subject from a mother and her twins seeking refuge at an orphanage from ritual sacrifice in Nigeria to a woman suffering from tuberculosis of the spine with her only child who is blind.

Sarah was featured in The Guardian as part of the San Miguel Rich List 2016 for enriching explorers and named “world’s top 17 trailblazer” with an exhibition of her photos at Somerset House. She was published in Marie Claire in 2017 to share her life and work to date and returned from Ghana in 2017, where she was working as a Broadcast Journalist/TV Presenter for GHOne TV producing and presenting special features for the news, live reports and TV documentaries on stories ranging from social issues, adventures, the environment and undercover assignments. The stories ranged from investigating living conditions, chasing crime and exploring brothels in the most dangerous slums of Ghana, “Sodom and Gomorrah”, being appointed the first to fly at the Kwahu Paragliding Festival 2017 to fishing and farming in undocumented rural villages capturing their expectations of the new government.

Sarah won an award at BAFTA when she directed the short film, “Who Would Have Thought…” for Nespresso Talents 2018 about inspiring women, coming second place in the final three out of the 400 from around the UK and Ireland. Advocating for wildlife and an environmentalist, Sarah interviewed world renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall for BBC Focus magazine. After realising there was no hub for female explorers on or off screen, Sarah partnered with Russ Malkin from Big Earth to set up ‘The Adventuress Club’ – a platform to connect, share, empower and encourage women in the world of adventure. An advocate for women’s rights, Sarah has spoken on International Women’s Day several times to promote the unconventional woman who is breaking traditional barriers in order to become a role model for future generations and aims to inspire through her work.

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