Three Rohingya photographers have been visually documenting life in the sprawling refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, since 2018, and turned it into a book.

A Chance to Breathe is a book of exclusive photography and poetry by three Rohingya refugees living in one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh and is available to purchase now.

Published by FotoEvidence, a leading publishing house dedicated to documentary photography focused on human rights and social and ecological justice, A Chance to Breathe features the work of Omal Khair, Dil Kayas, and Azimul Hasson, three survivors of genocide who were forced from their homes in Rakhine State during the Myanmar-military-led “clearance operations” of 2017.

A Chance to Breathe is published with support from media organization Doha Debates and human rights organization Fortify Rights and is available to purchase here. All proceeds from book sales go directly to the Rohingya community.

For decades, Myanmar authorities have denied the existence of the Rohingya, forbidding them from owning smartphones, cameras, or otherwise documenting their lives. Today, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh face similar restrictions on their fundamental freedoms, making this new book an especially rare glimpse into the daily lives of Rohingya refugees and genocide survivors.

“I hope, when you see this photobook that you will come to know the Rohingya’s daily life and see their suffering… We must do this to end the Rohingya refugee life and daily suffering.”

– Omal Khair

“I am very thankful to [the project] because our Rohingya photos and Rohingya history will now be published to the world. I hope to keep uploading photos to Instagram so our Rohingya history doesn’t disappear.”

– Dil Kayas

“A book could interest people even more than online pictures. I am really happy about this. I am very happy that people in the world will know our situation.” 

– Azimul Hasson

The Fellows Project

In 2018, Fortify Rights, in partnership with Doha Debates, began providing on-the-ground photography and social-media training for the three young refugees. Equipped with smartphones, the photographers sought to document their lives and engage the outside world by offering an intimate look at Rohingya life.

Omal Khair, Dil Kayas, and Azimul Hasson have amassed thousands of followers online, and in 2021, the trio, along with Fortify Rights and Doha Debates, won a Shorty Award in recognition of their work. They were also featured in the 2021 film “Exodus,” directed by Fortify Rights Senior Multimedia Specialist Taimoor Sobhan, which follows the three photographers through their training and offers a look into their lives in Cox’s Bazar.

What’s Next for the Fellows?

This book is just the beginning for the careers of Omal Khair, Dil Kayas, and Azimul Hasson. You can follow their work on Instagram, and they are also available for projects and other work and can be contacted via the following:

Contact the fellows:

For media inquiries:

Omal Khair, Dil Kayas, Azimul Hasson

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