“Not everybody has to study” insists Maliha Sumar and chose a different green career instead.
Only 20 years old, Tanzanian born Maliha Sumar has already done her fair share in saving the world. She fought against climate change, collected plastic garbage, joined the boat activists of “Flipflopi” in Mwanza, who sailed from Lamu in Kenya to Tanzania in 2019, after building the world’s very first 100% recycled plastic dhow covered with 30,000 multicoloured flip. “We were so honoured to be working with the youngest member of our team, Maliha Sumar“, the activists proudly recall about her on their website.
Hailing from Mtwara and a Muslim Indian by faith, her mum works at the British Council and her dad runs a garage. After schooling in London, Maliha says, she was shocked by the extent of plastic pollution on Tanzania’s beaches and joined the Flipflopi boat team in protest. With all these activities already behind her, it’s no surprise that she is leading the race in winning the Tanzanian 2021 Youth environmental Award.
Since the tender age of 14 Maliha Sumar has been committed to social justice and environmentalism and has spent the last few years dedicating herself to learning new sustainable skills such as permaculture, composting, recycling seaweed and seamoss farming.
In 2019 - at only 17 - Maliha coordinated My Mark My City in Tanzania, an UN initiative engaging young people to make their own mark on tackling the climate crisis. She founded her school’s “Zero Waste Club”. She has also helped the Kilimanjaro Tree Project and Nipe Fagio plant more than 5,000 trees.
A green jack of many trades and a super dynamic and warm person to meet, Maliha started her own green company soon after leaving school. „Not everybody has to study“, she says. “I always wanted to live a self-sustainable life, and nothing better than doing my own green business.” With „Natural Living Tanzania '' she sells sea moss and other biological products such as Moringa and nettle leaf powder, useful against allergies. The organic substances can be used “inside and outside”, as healthy nutritional additives and skin products. Her new favourite is sea moss which grows on a rope during farming. “Seamoss removes mucus from your body, the root of many diseases'', she says. “I had no idea about it, now I would know how to farm it myself”, says Maliha – always eager to learn. (AT)