Poet and Photographer
Shahida was born in Irrawaddy, Myanmar. Her father although married and living in Irrawaddy, was deported in 1996 by the Burmese government to Chin Khali village—his birth village in southern Maungdaw. Her mother and nine siblings stayed in Irrawaddy until 2000, when they were allowed to move with their father. 'It was the sweetest and happiest time in my life.' —she says. 'I attended primary and high school with many kind and helpful teachers in a nearby village. From them, I learned education but also many other things useful for our lives.' After graduation she started working as a doctor’s interpreter with MSF. During her free time and holidays, she followed her passion for journalism and started to document issues in her community. In August 2017, she was forced to flee with her family to Bangladesh where she settled in the refugee camp and started to work as a volunteer for MSF and other NGO’s.
Her interest in writing led her to write poems and advocate for gender equality in the Rohingya community. 'I spoke to many women and girls who were discriminated, so I decided to write a poem about the suffering of girls.' —she explained. Her first poem, Thami Maha (Daughter the Great) was published on The Art Garden Rohingya in 2019. Many people liked the poem and encouraged her to write more, so she continued to write poetry about the sufferings of the Rohingya people. In 2020, she was chosen by UNHCR as a youth leader and travelled to the UN headquarters in Geneva to speak on behalf of the Rohingya community. In January 2023, she was invited to present her work at the the Dhaka Lit Fest. She currently works writing about Rohingya traditions, culture and history at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre.