Sahat Zia Hero
Founding Editor, Photographer and Mentor
Sahat is a multifaceted talent—a photographer, writer, human rights activist, and the founder of Rohingyatographer Magazine. In 2023, he received two significant recognitions for his work on this project: the Prince Claus Seeds Award and Nansen Refugee Regional Award.
Born in 1994 in Maungdaw, Arakan, Myanmar, he was on a path to study Physics at Sittwe University, however, systematic discrimination against the Rohingya community curtailed his academic journey. Forced to flee Myanmar with his family in August 2017, he now lives in the refugee camp in Bangladesh. There, he initially served as a team leader for the Danish Refugee Council and currently balances freelance photography for NGOs and media outlets with managing the magazine project and working at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre.
He is a recurring contributor to the Rohingya Photo Competition. His work has been showcased in venues such as the Oxford Human Rights Festival, Liberation War Museum, Cox’s Bazar Cultural Centre, Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, and the Rohingya Centre of Canada.
Tragically, he was one of the victims of the catastrophic fires that swept through the refugee camps in March 2021, leaving 50,000 Rohingya homeless. "After the fire, I returned to find only ashes where my home used to be. It was the second time I had lost everything," he recalls. Yet, he documented the ordeal using his phone and later published his first photobook, Rohingyatography, in 2021. That year, he was also nominated for the UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award.
Beyond photography, Sahat writes in English, Burmese, and Rohingya. His poetry appeared in the 2020 anthology Rohingya Dreams, published by the Danish Refugee Council with European Union support. He has also co-authored various academic articles. Below is a list of his published works, both photographic and written:
F-Stop Magazine. Interview with Sahat Zia Hero – Rohingyatographer Magazine
Reasons to be Cheerful. Rohingya Refugees Capture the Reality of Their Lives One Photo at a Time
Himal SouthAsian. A Rohingya photographer’s dispatch on food-aid cuts in the refugee camps
Centre for Migration Studies, Sage Journals. Five Years Lost: Youth Inclusion in the Rohingya Response
Norwegian Refugee Council. Today’s fire in Cox’s Bazar must lead to better living conditions in makeshift camps
Kontinente Magazine. Refugees take pictures of their everyday life in the camp
Visual Rebellion. Snaps of life in the world’s biggest refugee camp
Forced Migration Review. Voice and power at the intersection of art, technology and advocacy
Norwegian Refugee Council. Eid Mubarak: Eid celebrations in the world's largest refugee camp
Amnesty International. Rohingya Voices Matter – Activist Toolkit
International Rescue Committee. Strengthening Connections: Why Social Cohesion Matters for the Rohingya and Host Bangladeshi Communities
Sahat lends his photographic talents to UNHCR, where his images are not only showcased in social media campaigns but also included in global fundraising initiatives. These visuals play a crucial role in highlighting the pressing challenges confronting the Rohingya community. For additional details, please refer to the following links:
UNHCR. Rohingya refugees need urgent support
UNHCR Germany. Bangladesh: Fire in Kutupalong refugee camp
UNHCR Japan. Rohingya emergency
UNHCR Malaysia. Help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
UNHCR Canada. Your help is urgently needed for Rohingya refugees
UNHCR Bangladesh (FB)
UNHCR Bangladesh (IG)