60 years: Our alumni’s stories

Sixty years after it was founded Thomson Foundation now joined by the Berlin-based Thomson Media, continues to innovate. Its blended approach to life-long learning supports and inspires journalists and media organisations worldwide. 

As part of our 60th anniversary weve caught up with some of our alumni to find out what impact our training has had on their lives.


Ibrahim Hamidi 

Ibrahim Hamidi says that joining our summer training course in Cardiff in 2000 opened up the world to him. He is currently the Executive Editor at the London-based political news journal, AlmajallaAR and AlmajallaEN, and a Senior Diplomatic Editor for Asharq Al-awsat News.

What was inspiring was that you mingle with other journalists from around the world. That was the first wake-up call for me, you have to look beyond Syria to understand the whole world.

Ibrahim Hamidi is the Senior Diplomatic Editor for Asharq Al-awsat News.


KC Saranga 

Founder of ADA DERANA Mojo Force in Sri Lanka, KC Saranga first came to the attention of Thomson Foundation when he entered our Mobile Journalism (Mojo) competition in 2019.

Now General Manager News & Current Affairs at TV Derana, he is also leading the MoJo Lanka Academy, a virtual training centre for mobile storytellers.



My link with Thomson Foundation made me a Mojo trainer and it opened a new avenue for me in journalism.

KC Saranga is General Manager, News & Current Affairs, TV Derana in Sri Lanka.


Robin-Lee Francke 

Since Robin-Lee Francke attended Thomson Foundations Summer Course in 2019; she has worked for both Daily Voice newspaper and Africa News Agency as a content producer in South Africa. She has a strong desire to make a difference in society and now works for IOL, also known as Independent Online. 



“The summer course opened up a whole world of journalism and opportunity to me and I never knew existed.

Robin-Lee is a multimedia journalist with IOL in South Africa.


Shoaib Sharifi

Afghan Filmmaker, Shoaib Sharifi joined the Thomson Foundation summer training course in 2002. Now Afghanistan Country Director for BBC Media Action, he received the BAFTA for the Best Single Documentary, ‘My Childhood, My Country, 20 years in Afghanistan’.

We need to tell local journalists how good they are to trust them. They really are good.

Shoaib Sharifi is currently Afghanistan Country Director for BBC Media Action.



Kai Hui Wong 

Kai Hui Wong won our Young Journalist Award in 2021. Born in Malaysia, she now works as a freelance journalist in Taiwan. In her winning entries she relied on data journalism and monitoring to alert people about the impact of any encroaching development, potential environmental damage and possible abuses of power.

There are so many constraints and challenges locally and also globally. I still hope that we can always continue our missions to observe and document with good profession and courage.

Kai Hui Wong is a freelance journalist and editor.


Lekan Otufodunrin 

The training that Lekan Otufodunrin received from the Thomson Foundation in Cardiff in 1998 made such an impact that his recently published book is titled Dateline Cardiff. Lekan runs a media mentoring and coaching organisation in Nigeria and traces his success as a trainer back to his three months in Cardiff.

There was no structured training for journalists and media organisations in Nigeria. We learnt that kind of training at Thomson Foundation, that is what I do now.

Lekan Otufodunrin is the Executive Director of Media Career Development Network.


Mossaber Hossain

Mosabber Hossain received South Asian Inquirer Investigative Journalism Award in 2014 from the Thomson Foundation for his investigation into alleged financial corruption in the telecom sector in Bangladesh. He joined us in London for a week's training course as part of his prize.

He currently works at Daily Prothom Alo, a popular newspaper and online portal in Bangladesh.

In 2014, I received the Investigative Inquirer Journalism Award. The award was a life-changing event to me. It has developed my leadership and networking capacity.

Mosabber Hossain is an investigative journalist with Daily Prothom Alo in Bangladesh.


Gisella Rojas

Gisella Alejandra Rojas Rodriguez won our 2018 mobile journalism competition. Her film, about the migrant bus following people fleeing violence in Honduras and travelling through Mexico in search of a new life in the United States, was the first she had made using a smartphone. She is a journalist based in Ecuador and currently works as a digital journalist for Ecuavisa Noticias.


I got the chance to build a network of journalists because I joined the summer course in London. Thomson Foundation has made a huge impact in my career.

Gisella Rojas Rodriguez is a digital journalist with Ecuavisa Noticias.



Hear more from our alumni about their journey with the Thomson Foundation.




Celebrating 60 years

Sixty years after it was foundedThomson Foundation now joined by the Berlin-based Thomson Media, continues to innovate. Our blended approach to life-long learning supports and inspires journalists and media organisations worldwide because journalism matters.


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