Rohingya poets in exile

Read two poems written by Rohingya refugees currently in Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh.

While every day is another day away from home for refugees in Cox's Bazar, there are unique and unusual creativity and seeds planted during life in exile. 

An Anthology with poetry created by 20 refugees in Cox's Bazar has been collected and published by DRC in Bangladesh with support from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). 

Read here two poems from the Anthology 'Rohingya Dreams' written by inhabitants in the world's largest refugee camp complex, Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, hosting more than 840,000 people (UN Joint Response Plan 2020) from neighbouring Myanmar.

Just Once

Don’t answer on behalf of me a thousand times 

Grant me self-confidence just once 

Don’t chide me wrong and right a thousand times 

Notify me its dissimilarity just once 

Don’t sustain my burden all the time 

Let me depend on myself just once 

Don’t protect me a thousand times 

Teach me self-defence just once 

Don’t assume me weak seeing my soft skin a thousand times  

Realize my strength

I conceived you once

In this poem, ‘Me’ refers to a woman. The poetess depicts the different opinions of women. It reflects a quest to encourage women’s self-confidence and self-defence. 

Refugee Life

On the bleak hills with no shades

Huts of refugees are between winds and rains

Sometimes the sun’s heat is extreme

Sometimes it causes floods with heavy rains

Shivering with icy coldness that freezes blood in the veins

Harrowingly experiencing all kinds of seasonal rough pains

All age groups, young, old, male and female

Keeping aside our shame,

We have to go to the food distribution centre in a rush

And there, we have to jostle to stand in a queue as beggars

We have to beg rations to fill a few inches of this stomach.

Fellow human beings inhumanely killed us

Forcibly drove us out of our mother land

So we have to survive by seeking refuge into the other’s land

We have to pass our days

By taking asylum in the confined camps

On the back of other’s land like a burden

As an outcast and that is our refugee life.

Being Rohingya is a misfortune or a fault?

Our future seems to be bleak

While our way back home is uncertain

We no longer want to carry and maintain

The title of the most persecuted community

We really want to live

With dignity

And with social values

Like other fellow human beings.

Translated by Swe Rohingya