Meet the Team

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Sahat Zia Hero

Founder, Editor & Photographer

Sahat was born in 1994 in Maungdaw Township, Arakan, Myanmar. In 2012, he was studying Physics at Sittwe University but due to the systematic discrimination against the Rohingya, he was excluded from attending his second year in university. In August 2017, he was forced to flee with his family to Bangladesh where he currently lives in the refugee camp. 

 

Between 2018 and 2020, he worked as a team leader for the Danish Refugee Council. He currently works as a freelance photographer for various NGOs and international media outlets. His photographs have been published by Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Amnesty International, Lacuna Magazine, Danish Refugee Council, UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council. In 2021, his photographs were shown at the Oxford Human Rights Festival and was selected as one of the winners at the Oxfam’s Rohingya Arts Campaign. He is a contributing photographer to the Rohingya Photo Competition since 2021.

 

Sahat also writes poetry in Burmese, Rohingya and English. In 2020, his poems were published in Rohingya Dreams, an anthology of Rohingya poets published by the Danish Refugee Council with support from the European Union. In 2020, he co-authored an article published in Lacuna Magazine.

 

In March 2021, he fell victim of the devastating fires that left 50,000 Rohingya homeless in the refugee camp. “My family managed to escape and when the fire was over, I returned to find nothing but ashes where my home used to be. Nothing. My laptop and pen drives where gone. It was the second time I lost everything since I fled my home in Myanmar back in 2017. Nevertheless, I was able to document the unfolding of the fire event with the camera on my phone.” In 2021, he published my first photobook titled Rohingyatography and was nominated for the UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award. He currently works part-time at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre.

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Abdullah Khin Maung Thein 

Photographer

Abdullah is a 26-year-old former school teacher from Maungdaw, Rakhine State in Myanmar. He always had a passion for photography: “I still remember when I bought my first smartphone in 2012. I used to capture landscapes with paddy fields, mountains, streams, animals, bridges, and flowers.”—he said. Forced to flee his home, he arrived in Bangladesh in early September 2017 and started working with the Rollywood Rohingya film team making videos re-enacting Rohingya life. 

 

He enjoys his journey as a freelance photographer documenting the life of refugees in the camp. “Every person has a personal experience worth documenting and I feel that it is my duty as a photographer to bring those stories to the outside world”.—he said. Since his arrival, he has produced several photo-essays on different topics. In 2019, his photographs were published by the Asia Times and in August 2020 he received third prize in the photo series category from the Rohingya Photo Competition. His photographs have been exhibited at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre in Ottawa and the Oxford Human Rights Festival. 

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Shahida Win 

Photographer & Poet

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. She currently works writing about Rohingya traditions, culture and history at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre in the refugee camp.

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Azimul Hasson 

Photographer

Azimul is 18 years old and used to live in a little village named Bolibazar in Maungdaw Township in Myanmar. Since the exodus in 2017, he lives in the refugee camps. He is a photographer, poet and a media fellow with Fortify Rights and the Doha Debates—a project recipient of the Shorty Award and Anthem Award. He was selected for the Oxfam’s Rohingya Arts Campaign and his photographic work has been featured in Amnesty International Thailand and @EverydayAsia.

 

“Since childhood I wanted to become a photographer. My dream came through when I became a media fellow with Fortify Rights and the Doha Debates. With my camera-phone, I capture the reality of my community on a daily basis. Through my photos, the world can see our situation in the refugee camps. Writing poetry is also one of my passions. It allows me to enter a world where I find no injustice or discrimination. In my free time I write poems about the life of the Rohingya community. My wish is to become a famous Rohingya poet. My poems have been published on The Art Garden Rohingya, an online platform for young Rohingya poets.”—Azimul explained.

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Hujjat Ullah

Photographer

Hujjat is the eldest of 10 siblings. He completed his secondary high school in 2015 and travelled to Bangladesh to complete his Bachelor Degree in Pharmacy at the International Islamic University in Chittagong. “Every person has different interests and hobbies. Mine is to be a qualified healthcare professional pharmacist.”—he said. His hobbies are reading, public speaking and helping people unconditionally. He enjoys listening to the stories and experiences of elderly people: “I believe that there are many interesting things happening around us, which most people do not notice, but as a photographer I can frame them.”—Hujjat explains.

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Md Jamal 

Photographer

Md Jamal’s parents fled to Bangladesh in 1992 along with 250,000 Rohingya. He was born a refugee in 1995 in the Kutupalong camp. He started taking pictures and using social media in his early 20’s. One day, an international journalist reached out and paid him for the rights to use one of his photographs for an article; with the money he bought a second-hand camera-phone and from that moment, his photographic career began. 

 

In October 2016, he started to document the first Rohingya arriving in Bangladesh fleeing the crisis in Rakhine. By August 2017, when the main Rohingya exodus took place, he was already freelancing for various international media outlets such The Guardian, Reuters, Paris Match, Al Jazeera, BBC News Bangla, Tempo English, CNN and others. In 2020, one of his photographs became the front cover for the exhibition organised by the Oxford Human Rights Festival: ‘Next Generation - Young Rohingya Refugees’“My driving force is to ask people everywhere: Why do we face such persecution? Why has the world allowed such injustice against us?”—explained Md Jamal.

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Ro Yassin Abdumonaf 

Photographer

 

Ro Yassin is a 27-year-old freelance writer and photographer living in the refugee camp in Bangladesh. He became a refugee in 2017. He uses photography to provide a collective voice for the Rohingya people. “It is my hope that my photography can provide meaning to the Rohingya demand of justice and peace. I will be content if my work can help raise our collective voice.”—he says. His photographs have been published in various media outlets like Reuters and others.

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Enayat Khan 

Photographer & Visual Artist

 

Enayat Khan was born in 1999 in Nwa Yong Thong village in Arakan. He completed school until grade ten and started drawing inspired by his uncle. “If I want to explain anything, the best language I can use is art.”—he says. His artistic career began when in class nine he drew a portrait of his teacher. Not only did his teacher buy the painting, but he also received an award from his school for his artistic skills. His favourite colour is white and his favorite artist is Leonardo da Vinci. His favourite words are ‘try’ and ‘nothing is impossible.’

 

Together with his family, he was forced to flee Myanmar in August 2017. His family now lives in the southern refugee camp near Teknaf. He currently works part-time at the Rohingya Cultural Centre. He is married and the proud father of a baby girl.

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Md Iddris 

Photographer 

 

Md Iddris is 20 years old. He was born in Toung Bazar village, in Buthidaung but became stateless in August 2017 when his family was forcibly displaced to Bangladesh. He completed his high school in the refugee camp and worked with Relief International as a child protection volunteer between 2018 and 2021. He has a passion for painting and photography and likes to use these creative skills to portray Rohingya’s survival and daily life in the refugee camp. “I believe photography can have a positive impact for change, especially showing refugee life through my artwork.” —he says.

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Omal Kahir

Photographer

 

Omal was born in 2003 in southern Maungdaw in Rakhine State, Myanmar. In 1996, her father was deported from Yangon for being Rohingya and sent to the village where he was born. As a result, her family was separated until 2012, when her mother and siblings were allowed to join her father permanently. She attended primary and secondary school in her village and joined the Alay Than Kyaw High School. Omal wanted to study medicine but could not complete her studies because her village was set on fire and she had to flee with her family to Bangladesh in August 2017. 

 

In the refugee camp, she gave up her dream to become a doctor and started to work with BRAC and the Red Cross to support her family. She did an online photography course and regained a childhood passion. She became a media fellow with Fortify Rights and the Doha Debates and regularly shares her images of the Rohingya community on social media, highlighting daily life in the refugee camp.

 

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Ro Anamul Hasan

Photographer & Poet

Ro Anamul Hasan was born in 1997 in northern Maungdaw, Arakan, Myanmar. He graduated secondary school with high marks in 2014 and was about to study physics at university, but unfortunately he was discriminated and not allowed to join university. His family has suffered much discrimination: "My grandfather was murdered and five of his uncles were sentenced to 73 years in prison no reason and although they are innocent, they face a lifetime in prison where they are tortured daily. Sadly they cannot find justice. I was driven out of the Myanmar like a nest is flung by a storm. How rough this persecution has been on me? It's really beyond imagination. For me, poetry and photography are like raising voices from my obscure life. I wish the world to know my pain through my poetry and to see my sufferings through my photography.” —said Anamul. 

 

His poems have been featured in I am a Rohingya, Rohingya Dreams, Poetry For Humanity, OxfamFrontier Myanmar and in some other anthologies. In 2020, he won the first prize in a poetry competition organised by the Danish Refugee Council. In 2021, he won a photography competition organised by a group of Japanese journalists. In 2022, he won a prize from 'Write your Story' by the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

 

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David Palazón

Designer, Curator & Mentor

 

David (Barcelona, 1972) is a visual artist working in the fields of design, documentary photography and filmmaking, research, curation and production of creative and cultural projects in humanitarian and development contexts. Driven by a curious nature for exploration, his work is a constant enquiry about the human condition. Some of his artwork, publications and documentary films have been exhibited worldwide, receiving international recognition and awards. 

In 2019, he was appointed by IOM—the UN Migration agency—as the curator of the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre, leading the development and implementation of the project from its inception. This experience had a profound effect on David, leading to life-long connections with many talented Rohingya photographers and artists. Through these links, the ideas and seeds for the Rohingyatographer Magazine were sown. 

For more information on David’s work, please visit his website.