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Ahtaram Shin

Writer, Photographer and 

Social Media Editor

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Md Ahtaram Shin was born in 1997 in Odaung village in Southern Maungdaw. He is the youngest of his 10 brothers and sisters. They are all well-educated. His father was a theologian and Islamic scholar who went to Saudi Arabia in 1997 but was not allowed to return to Myanmar. His mother reunited with his father in 2014 in Saudi Arabia. ‘I am proud of my mother. She is a noble woman who put much effort into giving us an education. She had to confront huge difficulties from the Myanmar government during our schooling years due to my father’s absence.’ —Ahtaram said.


Because of the constant discrimination against Rohingya and the violence in 2017, he could not complete but he studied political science from Yangon Cosmopolitan University through online with undergraduate program. He managed to continue his studies through UNHCR scholarships pursuing an online course on sociology at Elon University. He worked as a peace-building and social cohesion research volunteer with BRAC. His interests in education, journalism and civil society led him to become a trustee of the Rohingya Community Development Campaign.


‘While I was studying, I read many poems and became interested in literature. My pen name is San Thai Shin.’ —he says. His poems have been featured in I am a Rohingya, an anthology of Rohingya poems. He received the 2nd prize in a Dutch short story writing competition. His written work has been published in The New Humanitarian, Amnesty International, Dhaka Tribune, The Diplomat, Reuters and The Daily Star. He currently works as a researcher at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Center.


I'm a bird in cage

No free from risk

In daytime sun radiant

At night the wind of storm

I get tired in saving my life

Yet I am trash for tomorrow

Just ill at ease!


From cradle to the grave

Am I legitimate victim of the genocide? 

Is it my destiny and fault? 

Don't treat me as a toy bird


I fled your country 

Not for permanence 

Don't treat me as animal

Probably I disorganized your rules 

But indeed internalize

I'm your backyard like afterglow 

Perhaps you don't know

I am ageless beauty of your surrounding 


Planting and gardening around your house 

Only seasonal beauty

Even they bear buds, flower and fruits 

I am inviolate beauty of your surrounding  


Treat me with love

I have own dignity and respect 

See my beauty in my body and soul

Treat me kindly because your compassionate voices might make me peace

Speak up words of gentleness and balance acts

I used to remember those conversations 

When I will be my country 


I've a land where I was born

That always welcomes me willy-nilly

I am hungry and dying to go back there 

No longer you can find to see my face

My clock, my time is almost going to stick


As long as our luck bestows here, 

Show me compassion and kindness 

As your family and neighbour 

As your soulmate and buddy 

As your sibling and offspring

As your nephew and niece



Even when I'm stressed or anxious

I never lose my smile


The situation around me is terrible

My community is drowning in an ocean of depression

As a leader, I try to encourage them with my smile


The power of a smile is immeasurable

The beauty of a smile is as bright as the stars

The sweetness of a smile can bring tranquility 

Even to the heart of a prisoner

The radiance of a smile can spread for miles


Smiles show innocence and increase friendship 

They are a powerful weapons for love 

A smile can pause a thousand tears 

It takes away many fears


Let the environment

Be your teacher

You will learn 

How to adopt by it 


Let the creatures

Be your field to study

You will learn 

A different aspect of life


Let the ocean

Be your vision

You'll learn 

The feature of diversity


Let the stars 

Be your aspirations

You will learn

The beauty of co-occur


Let the nature

Be your teacher 

You will learn

The righteous path life!

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