Rohingya Photography Competition Virtual Exhibition

Welcome to this virtual exhibition of The Rohingya Photography Competition. This moving collection of photos was taken by Rohingya refugees themselves.

The Rohingya Photography Competition is an annual event and there have been two iterations in 2020 and 2021. The initiative was taken by London-based documentary filmmaker Shafiur Rahman. A selection of photos have been exhibited by the Oxford Human Rights Festival in Oxford, UK in both 2020 and 2021.

You can support the photographers and RANE project by donating here.

“To tell one’s own story, to have a voice, to be heard, should never be things one has to strive for, but for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, that too is an aspiration. Their photographs show their struggles and their reality. They also show hope. But above all they show their humanity. Hopefully they will reawaken ours.” 

Shahidul Alam, Photographer & Writer, Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018, CPJ International Press Freedom Award Winner. 
The Next Generation
by Zahangir Alam
The Rohingya are facing a “lost
generation” as children both in
Myanmar and in the refugee
camps of Bangladesh struggle
to get an education.
The Next Generation by Zahangir Alam
The Rohingya are facing a “lost generation” as children both in Myanmar and in the refugee camps of Bangladesh struggle to get an education.
We live in small homes – Zahangir Alam
“In Kutupalong, most shelters are small. A family of 5 or 6 or more occupies a single room. Different generations, adults, teenagers and children all in one space. There is no privacy for us.”
Portrait of a Memory by Abul Kalam
“Some of us have been refugees three times since 1992. Some of us have been refugees since birth.”
Annual Flooding by Haider Ali
“The rain didn’t stop. The water got higher and higher. We had to abandon our homes. Toilets could not be used. Tubewells could not be used. We could not cook anything.”
Scrap Collectors by Mainul Islam
Children collect bags of plastic rubbish to sell by the kilo. They work for a pittance. There are many forms of child labour in the camps.
Bhasan Char by Anonymous
“For some reason, I don’t sleep properly. When I lie awake, in the dead of night, I can hear the sea and sometimes the horn of berthing ships. I feel a bit strange then but by the morning that feeling goes away.” Thousands of Rohingya have been relocated to a remote island off the coast of Bangladesh.
Fire in Camp 8 by Mohammed Salim Khan
“We lost everything.” The great fire of March 22, 2021 destroyed the homes of over 50,000 people.
I love Van Gogh by Salim Ullah Armany
“I wanted to be educated. I wanted to read about the great artists. But that will not happen.”
Solidarity by Noor Hossain
This was the first social media image posted from the Rohingya camps expressing solidarity with the struggle against the military dictatorship in Myanmar. In response, many Myanmar people expressed regret that they had ignored the Rohingya crisis and acknowledged they had believed the Myanmar military propaganda.
Viva Messi by Abdul Monaf
Argentina is the overwhelming favourite for Rohingya football fans. Here, their victory in Copa America, 2021, is being celebrated.
Dressed up for Eid by Jamal Arkani
“Once I asked my mother why she was crying on Eid day. She told me that she was thinking about another Eid day when the military attacked our village and we left our home in Myanmar.”
Dressed up for Eid by Mohammed Hossain
Back in Myanmar, many Rohingya could not celebrate eid for fear of persecution. They could not practise their religion. In Bangladesh, refugees do their best to mark the day.
Without Wifi. Without connections by Mohammed Zonaid
“Internet ban forced people to rely on 2G. Only some spots had any signal. And people would huddle.”
“We were without any mobile internet for almost a year. We could not get any news. We could not speak to our relatives. It is as if we do not belong anywhere not even on the internet.”
Mother and Child by Noor Hossain
“I am called a Forcibly Displaced Myanmar national. I have no rights here. To work or move around. My baby was born here but she will have no rights either. We are expected to live on rations.’
Lost generation by Samiya
“I am 30 years old. It is ok I was never educated. Not in Myanmar. Not in Bangladesh. But I wanted my children to be able to read and write. Is that too much to ask? Are we not people?”
Fire by Ro Yassin Abdumonab
March 22nd, 2021. The barbed wire fencing around the camps hindered escape from the fire. Many aid organisations voiced this concern in an open letter.
Broken Youth by Sahat Zia Hero Naing
“If something breaks, it begins to decay. The more it decays, the more it breaks. And this is what happens in our camps. This is how it is for everything and everyone.”
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