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Sahat Zia Hero

Founder

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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:

2023

NPR. Photos: This is life in the world's largest refugee camp, as seen by their own

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

Aljazeera. What is life like inside the world’s biggest refugee camp?

SBS News. They are called the forgotten people. This photographer tells their stories

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 MagazineRefugees take pictures of their everyday life in the camp

The Observers. Refugee photographers fight to raise awareness about plight of Rohingya in Bangladesh

Anadolu Agency. ‘Love Gifts’: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh donate 700 blankets, 200 jackets to Türkiye

 

2022

Aljazeera. ‘Through our own eyes’: Rohingya refugees stage photography show

The Guardian. ‘This is our documentary of the crisis we face’: the Rohingya smartphone photographers.'

NBC News. Young Rohingya photographers capture life in world’s largest refugee camp.

Visual RebellionSnaps of life in the world’s biggest refugee camp​

Lacuna Magazine. Rohingya refugees are using photography to tell their own stories 

Forced Migration Review. Voice and power at the intersection of art, technology and advocacy

Migrant Voice. The photography magazine from the world’s largest refugee camp

UNHCR. Rohingya boy learns language of photography

Norwegian Refugee Council. Eid Mubarak: Eid celebrations in the world's largest refugee camp

Amnesty InternationalRohingya Voices Matter – Activist Toolkit

Danish Refugee Council

 

2021

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:

Media

ISCG. Humanitarian Response to the Fire in Rohingya Refugee Camp

Fundraisers
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

Social Media

UNHCR Japan

UNHCR Philippines

UNHCR Netherlands

UNHCR Bangladesh

UNHCR Bangladesh (FB)

UNHCR Bangladesh (IG)

UNHCR France

UNHCR UK

UNHCR Spain

UNHCR Australia

UNHCR Germany

UNHCR Thailand

UNHCR Indonesia

UNHCR EU Affairs

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