I am a Kenyan-born backpack journalist and journalism is changing my life; it empowers, challenges, educates, intrigues and humbles me. When I pick up a video camera, capture the realities of the human condition, I am inspired to change people’s lives and their circumstances. I call it pursuing journalism of consequence.

Furhana AfridI enjoy every step in the story telling process: Field producing, shooting video, editing and reporting. I am also exploring new communication platforms to reach different audiences using multimedia journalism and social media.

My life, spent mostly in my Nairobi home town, is influenced by my Pakistani upbringing, Indian and African experiences. My international travels have taken me to Tanzania, Europe, South Asia, Middle East and now the United States. These multicultural experiences have given me the ability to speak fluent English, Punjabi and functional Swahili, Hindi and Urdu.

My professional journalism work has taken me from Kenya to California to Montana. My journalistic journey first took me to the San Francisco Bay Area. As a print journalist, I reported on a diverse range of issues in the South Asian community including hate crimes, humanitarian work and environmentalism.

Then as a television news reporter, I covered local news in a South West Montana community including a mining city’s struggle to revive its economy, international trade missions, Montana politics, U.S. president Barack Obama’s unprecedented multiple visits to Butte as a presidential candidate during the 2008 general elections.

I also pursued an investigative television series on the causes, indicators and prevention of avalanches. I documented witness accounts, experts and a survivor’s harrowing ordeal when an avalanche packed a powerful punch and pinned him under deep snow.

When post-election violence broke out in my home country of Kenya in early 2008, hundreds of Kenyans died and hundreds of thousands lost their homes. I brought Montanans the stories about the struggles of my family and other Kenyans. This issue prompted ordinary Montanans to reach out and help Kenyan victims.

I am a recipient of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) award for investigating the impact of the 9/11 news coverage on Bay Area Muslims.

I have a graduate degree in radio and television studies from San Francisco State University and an undergraduate degree in international business administration from the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.