The ‘AJ Shorts’ digital documentary, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan, won in the Short Video (English) category at this year's Human Rights Press Awards (HRPA) ceremony in Hong Kong on May 16, 2019. The film is the first-person narrative of a 14-year-old boy, Khudai, whose father was killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, forcing him to abandon school and take odd jobs to ensure the survival of his mother and five younger sisters.
Filmed and directed by Preethi Nallu, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan also garnered two awards at the Webby Awards gala in New York earlier this month.
Al Jazeera Media Network's director of Digital Innovation and Programming Carlos Van Meek said he is proud of his team's accomplishments.
"This was a great collaboration between our broadcast partners and our digital team. I credit everyone involved for thinking laterally and working together across platforms to get the most out of a great story. Much more of this to come," said Van Meek.
HRPA winning entries ranged from high-profile issues such as the plight of Myanmar's Rohingya, to under-reported topics like the extrajudicial killing of Muslims in India, and the hardships faced by stateless minority communities living precariously along Cambodia's waterways.
AJ Shorts Commissioning Editor Andrew James Phillips said his team's win provides "a big lift to continue telling stories of ordinary people in extraordinary and often extremely challenging circumstances. We're honoured to receive such an important accolade.”
The Human Rights Press Awards presented 52 awards in recognition of outstanding human rights-focused journalism from across Asia, among them the New York Times, Reuters, BBC, Washington Post and leading East Asian news outlets.