Entrepreneur and sustainable aquaculturist, Bweleo village, Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Interviewed: August 2008
In Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean, I met Safia Hashim (42), a village entrepreneur and sustainable aquaculturist. “By 1999, the mussels [in her village] were over-harvested and as they disappeared, villagers soon faced financial problems. The biggest problem was that we did not know what to do. We were not educated to conserve the resources,” said Safia. One day, a woman from her village participated in a sustainable sea farming workshop. As this information was introduced to the village, “the ocean became rich,” said Safia. “And I started to become rich. I never knew that we could increase both food and income security by creating sea farms and protecting the ocean.” Safia has created a sustainable business which serves as a model for other women in her village. “I want us to become an example of a village where women are active, confident and successful.”
Safia’s impact on Miho
Safia’s words assured me that if we create a sustainable society, then both people and the natural world can thrive. All people, no matter where they live, need access to education about how their everyday practices affect the environment. Safia’s example made me re-think my life back in the States and encouraged me to make better and more sustainable choices in my everyday life. For more on how I have changed since my return, see my commitment.