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  • Writer's pictureAhtaram Shin

Unlocking potential: Rohingya woman's tailoring talent highlights need for opportunities


2023 © Omar Salma

Ana Morijan is a remarkably talented tailor from the Rohingya community. With skilled hands, she crafts captivating dresses that bring joy to the women around her. Her diverse designs are admired, showcasing the incredible expertise found among Rohingya women.


For Ana, tailoring is not just a passion but a vital source of income sustaining her family.

Though facing challenges, her story highlights the immense potential waiting to be unlocked if these skilled women are given opportunities to connect with the outside world, enhance their abilities, and become empowered. When given a chance, they can demonstrate what they are truly capable of achieving.


About the photographer: Omar Salma was born in a small village in Maungdaw, northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. She has been a living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh since 2017. In 2018, a turning point arrived when she earned a full scholarship to the Asian University for Women (AUW).


'This isn’t just my achievement; it’s a source of pride for my family and my hometown,' she says.

Omar recently completed her BSc in Public Health from AUW and has been actively volunteering with organisations like WFP, BDRCS, and most recently, UNHCR, all within the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camp. She currently serves as a research assistant and translator for various projects in the camp.


Self-portrait. 2023 © Omar Salma

For Omar, photography is more than just a hobby; it’s her lifeline to an often-overlooked world. Through her camera, she captures more than just images, but the essence of her community—the stories, the struggles, and the resilience—she explains. Each photograph she takes is a testament to her commitment to spotlight the harsh realities her community faces.


‘I don’t just engage in photography; I’m consumed by it. It’s my way of giving a voice to the voiceless, of being a beacon of hope in a sea of despair, and of fighting against the shocking injustices I’ve witnessed,’ she strongly declares.

 

This feature is part of The Rohingya Experience, an exhibition in St Helier, Island of Jersey during July 2024, developed by Rohingyatographer, a collective of Rohingya refugee photographers in partnership with Jersey Overseas Aid.

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