Canada is a global leader in responding to humanitarian crises and welcoming refugees. Humans in Flight is a collection of pictures and firsthand narratives of people who had to flee their homelands in search of safety and survival – as well as personal stories from the volunteers and sponsors who have helped them build new lives in their adopted homeland

It’s a project conceived and created by newcomers themselves. It aims to shed light on the terrific talent and resourcefulness of those who were once refugees and are now our current or soon-to-be neighbours and friends.

Through the simple gifts of storytelling, Humans in Flight aims to redefine what it means to be a refugee and encourage more Canadians to make a difference, large or small, in the lives of displaced people through private sponsorship, settlement, and advocacy.


We are a group of newcomers, volunteers, and advocates who are passionate and committed to making a difference for refugees worldwide, those languishing without basic rights and, or a place to call home.

As former refugees ourselves, we have experienced of what it means to be displaced, unwanted, and without a home. Most refugees are stranded in transit or limbo and overlooked by the world. 

Through Humans In Flight, we are shedding light on the lives of those who were displaced and have now found a place to call home - as well as on the volunteers and sponsors who helped make it happen. 

These ordinary and extraordinary Canadians took a chance on people who were once strangers on the other side of the world and are now - thanks to a collective effort of hard work and kindness - their friends and neighbors. 


John Jonaid 

John, co-founder of Humans in flight and  The Archipelago,  is a recipient of a Parliamentary fellowship. As a journalist and refugee advocate, he contributes to publishing accounts of displaced people and advocates and volunteers with Northern Lights Canada to help refugees find a safe and durable solution globally.

Javed Najafi

Javed Najafi is a professional photographer, videographer, documentary maker, YouTuber and visual storyteller. He studied photography via Michigan State University and graphic design via the California Institute of The Arts. He is the photographer for Humans in Flight, as well as a contributor to Northern Lights Canada and Hazara Refugee Collective.

You can find his work on his YouTube channel: and on his own website. You can support him directly through PayPal. His images can also be found here: Instagram, Shutterstock,, Pexels, Alamy and Dreamstime.

is the co-founder of Northern Lights. After a direct attack on his life from the Taliban, he fled Afghanistan to Indonesia, where he lived as a refugee and co-founded The Archipelago. Shams also anonymously blogged on the situation of refugees in Indonesian prison camps to bring their plights to the attention of the world. 

He is a member of the Writers-in-Exile group and works as a Writer-in-Residence at George Brown College and a writer for Humans in Flight. He has spearheaded a number of refugee initiatives, including with Lifeline Afghanistan and Aman Lara. He is widely published in the media.

Stephen Watt is a co-founder of Northern Lights Canada and serves as editor and consultant to Humans in Flight. He is the recipient of the Irv Carvalho Humanitarian Award at the National Citizenship and Immigration Conference (2020) and the inaugural Charity Village award for 'most outstanding impact - volunteer' (2021).


Napas Thein 

Napas Thein,  a Master of Public Policy Student at the University of Toronto Munk School, is a community organizer with the Myanmar diaspora and student network in Toronto. He is engaged in education and research initiatives and co-founded the Myanmar Culture Club at the university. He is interested in working on democratic and economic development.


An Afghan refugee in Indonesia, Ali Reza Jaffri designed the logo and visual elements for Humans in Flight