Shayma Bakht


“It has been a whirlwind of a year but I am so grateful to have been named the Young Journalist of the Year at the Press Awards for my undercover work at The Times, which looked into predators who were abusing the Homes for Ukraine scheme to prey on female refugees. The win was completely unexpected but it feels incredibly validating after years of hard work trying to break into the industry as a freelancer, and especially as a Muslim journalist. I am so grateful to the COSARAF foundation for supporting my Masters, which I use everyday. Without it, I would not have been able to have got the job I did or to have had the incredible opportunities to write stories that shed light on issues affecting the communities I care about the most.

The award also comes along with an exciting prize fund to take a foreign trip to a destination of my choice so I am working on ideas for that now. Since joining The Times, I have been able to work on stories about Muslim students having to give up dreams of going to university without a sharia-compliant funding system, attacks on mosque worshippers in the UK, migrants from Asia and Africa being trafficked in the Middle East and issues in Afghanistan and Lebanon. I hope to continue to use this once-in-a-lifetime gift from the foundation to make the news landscape a more inclusive and fair environment, and I hope to make the donors proud by writing stories that will hopefully make a difference.”