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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Sarah Begum

Sarah BegumSarah Begum, born on July 5th 1988 in London, England is an immersive investigative British journalist, anthropologist-explorer, filmmaker and public speaker.

Sarah has been exploring the world, studying tribes and different ways of life while investigating current affairs and making a humanitarian effort to help people along the way through her work.

In 2010, Sarah travelled deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, where she lived with the Huaorani tribe and immersed in their way of life, hunting with warriors, gathering with women while investigating into the impacts of oil exploitation on their land.

On this expedition, Sarah was made Queen and ceremonially married to a warrior to create an alliance in order to send their message about protecting their land through her film.

Sarah became the youngest person to make their first film in the Amazon jungle at the age of 21 with the premiere of her “Amazon Souls” held at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

The film has been endorsed by rainforest charities Sky Rainforest Rescue, Rainforest Alliance, celebrity Adventurer Bear Grylls and has released on various platforms worldwide.

Sarah BegumSarah’s achievements include winning the “Spirit of Adventure Award” from the Captain Scott Society in 2014 for her next big expedition, Life In The Darien Gap, shortlisted by the SES (Scientific Exploration Society) Explorer of the year Award in 2014, Finalist of the National Geographic Explorer Award, Finalist of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship Award in 2014, as well as being highly commended by The Adventure Fund in association with Sidetracked magazine.

Sarah’s photography aired on the Discovery Channel of a photo she took with a woman from the Berber tribe who adopted her in the Atlas Mountains.

Sarah has traveled and extensively investigated into the mafia system in rural Sicily and how it has changed since the formation of the anti-mafia movement.

She has stepped into the underworld of Poland’s most dangerous football hooligan gangs to understand what divides them and makes them so violent.

While undercover filming in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, Sarah gained an insight into the professional and personal life of a prostitute from an exclusive interview.

Exploring the USA, Sarah captured stories from the Native Americans about how alcohol, gambling and unemployment created a lost nation in the modern world and is set to release a book about her epic journey.

Sarah BegumIn Bangladesh, Sarah witnessed spiritual possessions, exorcisms, forced marriages and challenged gender barriers setting standards for the new generation of Bengali women.

Sarah has survived in some of the most dangerous cities in the world - in Caracas, Venezuela, Sarah worked as a Broadcast Journalist, presenting international current affairs for an English TV channel whilst surviving the violence of the city.

She returned to the murder capital of the world to film undercover in Latin America’s largest and most dangerous slums and to investigate how social, economic and political issues have impacted life in Caracas. Sarah released her report, “Surviving Caracas” just before the elections in Venezuela in December 2015.

In February 2014, Sarah collaborated with a World Award Winning body painter and came up with the idea to create, “Adventurion 3D-360 , confirmed by the Guinness World Records as the first ever adventure themed 3D UV chromadepth bodypaint to be captured on both linear and 360 camera lens, representing the past, present and future of exploration, filmed at Pinewood Studios.

This concept combines adventure, art, science, space and new film technology. Through her partnership with Rainforest Concern, Sarah implemented a strategy to raise awareness of her tribe in the Amazon.

Sarah trains in martial arts and is an activist for environmental, human and women’s rights, fighting to shine light upon issues internationally. Her humanitarian work includes delivering workshops on entrepreneurship to students in colleges and universities across Ethiopia to create sustainable businesses thus boosting their economy.

Sarah BegumWhen Typhoon Haiyan took the Philippines by storm in 2013, Sarah made a documentary about the survivors whilst helping rescues in the village of Lanao with aid. It was aired on Sky and raised enough money to rebuild the entire village.

She helped transform a struggling wine plantation to an eco farm in rural Sicily while dodging an active volcano and living through an earthquake.

Sarah spent time in an orphanage in Venezuela, helping young children gain confidence through a workshop she delivered on performance focused on their futures.

Sarah visited the refugee camps in the Calais jungle and taught the refugees how to use their existing skills and the entrepreneur schemes available to them to start their own businesses while they were waiting for citizenship.

In Ghana, Sarah has reported stories that have made a difference in the lives of her subjects - from a mother and her twins seeking refuge at an orphanage from ritual sacrifice in Nigeria to a woman suffering from tuberculosis of the spine with her only child who is blind.

These stories went viral, attracting the international eyes to help their cause. She continues to work on various other projects that come to her attention in helping those in need.

Sarah was featured in The Guardian newspaper as part of the San Miguel Rich List 2016 for enriching explorers and named “world’s top 17 trailblazer” with an exhibition of her photos at Somerset House.

Sarah BegumShe was published in Marie Claire in 2017 to share her life and work to date and returned from Ghana in 2017, where she was working as a Broadcast Journalist/TV Presenter for GHOne TV - producing and presenting special features for the news, live reports and TV documentaries on stories ranging from social issues, adventures, the environment and undercover assignments.

The stories ranged from investigating living conditions, chasing crime and exploring brothels in the most dangerous slums of Ghana, “Sodom and Gomorrah” to being appointed the first to fly at the Kwahu Paragliding Festival 2017, to fishing and farming in undocumented rural villages capturing their expectations of the new government.

Sarah won an award at BAFTA when she directed the short film, “Who Would Have Thought…” for Nespresso Talents 2018, coming second place in the final three out of the 400 participants from around the UK and Ireland.

Sarah’s journalism took a new turn when she interviewed world renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall for BBC Focus magazine.

She now writes for various publications about her own experiences around the world and other topics of interest ranging from adventure, travel, history, geography, anthropology, the environment and conservation.

Sarah BegumAfter realising there was no hub for female explorers on or off screen, Sarah partnered with Russ Malkin from Big Earth to set up ‘The Adventuress Club’ - a platform to connect, share, empower and encourage women in the world of adventure.

She has delivered a TEDx talk on the environment in Ghana, The Rotary Club in the UK, to oil directors from major oil companies around the world in Spain and she was a panelist at the Belfast Media Festival 2016 framed as ‘The Future Storyteller’.

An advocate for women’s rights, Sarah has spoken on International Women’s Day several times to promote the unconventional woman who is breaking traditional barriers in order to become a role model for future generations seeking the alternative path.

As a public speaker, Sarah aims to inspire people to live their dreams no matter how impossible it may seem whilst teaching them about the world through her adventures touching on anthropology, exploration, film, environment, human rights, women’s rights and other global topics rooted in her work.

This young British filmmaker has become a real life Queen of the Amazon after 'marrying' a tribal warrior in the heart of the Ecuadorian jungle.

Sarah had travelled to the Amazon on a mission to follow her dream of making a film about the tribe. After coming across the the little-known Huaroani tribe in the depths of the jungle, they told her she must first wed one of the tribe members.

They said this was necessary in order to create an alliance with their tribe and spread their message about protecting their land through her film.

Sarah Begum“When I was nine-years old I learned about the Amazon tribes and how their way of life was under threat from the modern world," she said. “Then I had reoccurring visions of tribal people calling me - ever since then the dreams became stronger and the urge to travel to see the tribes increased."

“By the time I was in film school I felt I wasn’t really being prepared for the real world. I wanted to do something with my life and for my future so I decided to literally follow my dreams."

“I quit my job, used all my savings, hired a cinematographer from New York and a sound man from Portsmouth. I did some research about this tribe in the Amazon and just booked tickets and went there.

Sarah privately financed her project and travelled 5,800 miles from London to Ecuador where she met her two film-making colleagues, British soundman Stephen Bull and American cinematographer Frank Angelcyk.

Despite not being able to swim, Sarah travelled for two days from the Amazon town of Coca, by boat across piranha and alligator infested waters, stopped overnight at a beach to fish for their food before finally contacting the tribe she had dreamed about from childhood.

“The three of us had to travel for two days to reach the village but we were accompanied by members of the tribe,” said Sarah.

Sarah Begum“We arrived at an abandoned village that had been partially burnt out. I helped a warrior to carry food into his canoe. Soon after camping the night, we reached Bameno village where I finally met the tribe."

Sarah was welcomed into the Huaorani tribe by the women, who taught her weaving and by the male warriors who showed her how to hunt by throwing a spear. The tribal elders insisted she get even more involved with their culture.

She had to undergo what she thought would be an initiation ceremony, before this turned into a marriage to chief warrior Ginkto, who spoke only his native Amazon language and a few words of Spanish.

“I was called into a hut and everyone inside was naked. I was told they were making me their traditional clothes, which is a piece of string made of plant fibres worn around the waist – not even a thong."

“I thought I can’t get naked this is being filmed – and for a split second I thought about running away. But, I wanted to fully embrace and understand their traditions."

“One of the women pulled off my underwear. And I gave in from there. The elder leader was chanting and the women were making chicha, their home-brewed beverage."

“They were happy that I was totally naked and started to make a crown for me out of macaw feathers. I was told they are going to make you Queen. I was surrounded by the women and warriors chanting and dancing in the hut - I thought I was being initiated." Sarah was shocked to discover the man next to her in the hut was to be her husband.

Sarah Begum“They gave me the chicha drink and the name “Imaca” - which means “The Last Name”, before marrying me to my husband-to-be, the tribe’s most popular warrior, Ginkto.”

The tribal elders explained that Ginkto was the tribe’s top-warrior and would therefore make an excellent husband. She also learned that he was quite the lady’s man.

“Ginkto is a lovely guy and a strong hunter, which makes him very popular with the women. He is also very funny and curious about my life in London. We communicated through one of the other warriors who spoke Spanish to my cameraman.” said Sarah.

“He asked all about my parents, my family and friends and luckily for Sarah the marriage ceremony was only symbolic to make her officially part of the tribe’s family, so she could help spread their call for help to the outside world. She was not expected to have a sexual or close relationship with Ginkto."

Sarah learned that the tribe’s survival was under threat from logging companies who wanted to force them off their land and destroy their forest home. “But I’m excited now that my film has raised awareness of the plight of my friends in the Amazon, whose way of life is under threat from multi-national companies who want to drill the forest for oil.

Her film, called “Amazon Souls” about the tribe has been shown at the Cannes Film Festival, helping to raise awareness about the plight of indigenous people of the Amazon.

Incredibly, Sarah still keeps in contact with her Amazon warriors through the internet. When some members are able to travel two days to the nearest town, Coca they can send a message to Sarah by email or even Facebook message and speak with her face-to-face over Skype.

Sarah Begum“I have followed my dream and fully believe that in doing so it has changed not only my life but the lives of others for the better.”

“I would love to go back to see them all again. The tribal elders said when I die I will be reborn as a male jaguar and return to watch over the tribe. The shaman was a really cool guy with the mystical powers of the jaguar, which the tribes believe make him a protector of the tribe.”

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