Tairah Firdous

Kashmir (India)

  • Program Year
  • 2012-13
  • Country of Current Residence
  • Afghanistan
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • Kabul
  • Current Position
  • Media and Program Advisor
  • Organization
  • Internews
  • Profession(s)
  • Journalist, Filmmaker, Human Rights Advocate

  • Sector(s)
  • Arts, Communications (including media), Non-profit / Philanthropy
  • Language(s)
  • English, Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu, Dari
  • Mentor
  • Professor René Provost, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • documentary filmmaking, film, human rights, journalism
Scholar email address

Tairah is a journalist, activist and humanitarian worker. From 2013-2015 2013, she worked as a Communications Officer with Oxfam in emergencies and conflicts. She has reported extensively from conflicts in India for Oxfam and worked closely with IDPs. She has also covered humanitarian emergencies and the aftermath, especially in the devastating Kashmir Floods of 2014 that affected over two million people, as well as covering monsoon floods in different parts of India.

Post Oxfam, Tairah worked as a senior communication consultant for Mercy Corps in Assam and Kashmir. In 2016, she moved to Kabul to take a Research Manager position at the Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization. As a Research Manager, she worked on the project “Afghanistan Rights Monitor” funded by Royal Netherlands Embassy in Afghanistan.

Tairah has worked as a journalist for Mail Today (India Today Group), a daily newspaper in Delhi. In 2010, her documentary Between Terror TV and Alternative Voice: Al Jazeera Speaks was screened at both the Al Jazeera International and the New York International film festivals. In that same year, Tairah received the Yayori Award in Tokyo. This annual award honours human rights activities and focuses on women activists, journalists, and artists who work at the grassroots level with socially marginalized people. In 2011, Tairah’s examination of Al Jazeera English: An Alternative News Voice: Presenting a non western perspective and ending western media hegemony was published by Lambert Academic Publishing.

She is currently (2018) working with Internews Network in Afghanistan as a Media and Gender Advisor.

Tairah has an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Kashmir. She received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to pursue higher studies in the United States and completed her Master’s in Journalism at Hawaii Pacific University, with a specialization in documentary filmmaking. She was a graduate fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii and spent a year at the University of Kansas as a research fellow.

As a Fellow

Tairah completed her documentary film on torture victims in Kashmir. After many months of intensive editing, she screened her remarkably powerful film, Cargo: Stories from a Torture Cell, to a packed Sauvé House on May 1st, 2013. She subsequently submitted Cargo to many film festivals, and organized a screening at the annual Yayori Award in December 2013.

In February 2013, Tairah and Senior Fellow Brett House co-wrote an article entitled Holding India to a Higher Standard on KashmirResponding to a severe government crackdown in Kashmir in the winter of 2013, Tairah also submitted an op-ed to the National Post, one of Canada’s principal newspapers. Following her Sauvé year, Tairah worked with a Canadian production company on The India Space Opera, a Korbett Matthews documentary.

In May 2015, Tairah returned to Sauvé House to participate in Sauvé Encore! 2015, as part of the Foundation’s alumni outreach program. That same month, Tairah was awarded an Alumni Collaboration Fund grant (alongside her project partners, Sauvé Fellows Sokhna Mame Bousso Ndiaye and Özlem Elgün Tillman) to help fund the creation of an international women’s network that will generate dialogue around gender equality and female empowerment.