Ishat Bibi was born in 2001 in Boli Bazar, Myanmar. She recalls her joyful moments with her family in a home with views of the ancient Mayyu mountain and very close to the high school she attended in 2017 before she was forced to flee to Bangladesh on August 25th. ‘It was a horrible day, people were screaming and running without a destination but to find a safe place.’ —she explained. Despite the suffering crossing the jungle and the Naf river she managed to document with her mobile phone the exodus until she reached safety in Bangladesh. She has been living in the refugee camp with her family ever since. ‘I miss everything, the sounds of sparrows at sunrise over Mayyu mountain, the morning frost around the football field in front of my home, playing with my friends after school at the ancient swimming pool.’ —Ishrat recalls.
To stay connected with her dreams helping her community she taught Burmese and English to over 100 Rohingya students. She also worked as a Burmese language teacher’s training volunteer at a BRAC learning facility for two years. She uses photography to document the life of her community in the refugee camp and shares their stories in social media. She is a regular contributor of the Art Garden Rohingya, a platform showcasing the work of young Rohingya poets and artists. Her photography work won her a prize at the Oxfam Art Campaign in 2021. In 2022 her writing and photos were published in The Guardian.
‘Sadly my father passed away in 2021, yet I’m on my way to make his dream come true and graduate from university to become a health professional to serve those in need in my community and follow the path of becoming a Rohingya female writer one day. I believe my hopes will take me as far I want to go.’ —Ishrat wishfully explained.