HART Prize for Human Rights: Here are the winners’ entries for the Senior Creative category!

4 May 2016

1st Prize Winner – ‘Freedom Matters’, a documentary by Pankhuri Agarwal & The Storygraphers

‘Freedom Matters’ is an attempt to answer the problem of human trafficking and slavery in India. It features Nobel Peace Laureate 2014 Dr Kailash Satyarthi, besides other eminent activists and researchers in the field.

Directed in association with an Indian production house, The Storygraphers, it takes the viewer through a journey of hope and inspiration amidst the grave reality of the crime by answering the following questions – what is human trafficking and slavery? Why should we be bothered about it? How do we perpetuate this? What action can we take? It shows simple steps that each one us, irrespective of our educational or professional background, can take against this menace.” – Pankhuri Agarwal & The Storygraphers



2nd Prize Winner – ‘A long walk to Democracy’ by Mona Yapova


AlongwalktoDemocracy (1)


“I travelled to Burma in December 2015, hoping to meet and talk with locals about their past.
Instead of this, I only heard of their dreams and hopes for the future. I will never forget Mr
Sue, an elderly man who took me on a walk to the Yangon University and said: “Please take a
photograph, and bring it home with you. Show it to your friends, your family and fellow
students. Tell them our university is open again, and that our students are ready to unite
with you.” Inspired by the outcome of the debatably quasi-democratic general elections this
November, this painting is a portrait of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, hopefully leading Burma out of
dark times, with the light of her spirit and an elegance of which flowers are the eternal
symbol. I decided to address Burma’s still ongoing fight for democracy with a portrait of
hope and courage.” – Mona Yapova


3rd Prize Winner – ‘Home’ by Afiqah Adnan

“This is a poem that tells the story of a Rohingya mother and child who are attempting to flee Burma, and end up stranded on a boat in the middle of the Andaman Sea.” – Afiqah Adnan


Home by Afiqah Adnan

Salt, sweat, sea

Air so thick he can barely breathe

Chest tightening, throat choking

Yet this is the closest he’s been to being free

He’s small hands clung on to the rope

For dear life, for hope

Those small hands

Once soft with innocence

Are now rough with experience

Abuse and violence

The calluses cry of hard labour

The scars scream of terror

Clutching the rope for hope

But the horror is far from over


Left right front centre

Huddled tight, squashed together

As the waves gave another slap

The floor beneath him gave another leap

Those fearful eyes looked to mummy

Begging, screaming with anxiety

“Mummy what’s happening”

“Mummy why’s the floor moving”

“Mummy can we go home”

“Please can we go home”



Those fearful innocent eyes looked deep

Into a pair of beautiful brown ones.

Tired. Afraid. Beaten.

She looked around and was heartbroken

People like her

Same faith, language, skin colour

People with dreams, hopes, ambition

All looked like death, their souls broken

For how can the free soul of a seagull

Be trapped in this tiny little hull

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

Neither wants to receive them on each side



Those weary eyes gave a smile

To little one’s, twinkling in the moonlight

Her arms around the child, cuddling him tight

Those arms giving warmth and protection

Were the same ones a sign of resilience

With scars like brush strokes on canvas

Each telling a story, with each a past

The day she lost a brother to a mob

The day she got abused and robbed

And the day her family perished

When they burnt her home down

Was the day she decided


She had to leave town



Those weary eyes shut

Her words were tied in a knot

A tear glistened at the thought

Where is home, she is conflicted

If in her birth-land she’s not accepted

For if a state leaves her stateless

Is her state worse than a homeless?

What is she? Where is she heading?

She prays to God with all her heart

Please just keep her going


With the Andaman finally calming

The boat slowly rocking

She pursed her lips

And started humming

She hugged the child tighter

And brought him closer

In his ears she began to whisper

“Home is neither far nor near

Be it on land

Or here in middle of the sea


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