Slowlife Chats with Hassan Sodhiq

Hassan Sodhiq, Team Leader, Eco Centro, Soneva Jani, Maldives

Why is sustainability important to you?

Sustainability is important for me because I want future generations to experience the beauty of my island, just like I did growing up. It’s important for me that our fragile eco systems are protected from the impacts of so-called ‘development’, so that the air remains unpolluted, reefs remain alive and our islands uneroded.

What has been your favourite or most successful sustainability project you’ve worked on with Soneva?

It was the ‘SunKothalhu’ project. Sunkothalhu was proposed by SaveKudafari, a youth movement from Kudafari in Noonu Atoll that I am a founder of, which aims to eliminate single use plastic shopping bags from my island. We proposed that Soneva fund steel buckets, fabric bags and net bags, to be distributed to each household so that they can use it as an alternative to shopping bags. Soneva Namoona has now donated these items for us to carry on with our project. I am very happy to see that the community has been very supportive and wants to become the first island in the Maldives to eliminate single use plastic shopping bags, way before the government’s SUP phase out plan has scheduled to ban these bags. As a result of this initiative, the business owners of the island have voluntarily agreed to stop importing SUP shopping bags to the island.

My philosophy when it comes to developing our island or any community is ‘our community – our responsibility’.

Hassan Sodhiq

Can you tell us about any sustainability initiatives at Soneva that have been your idea?

  • Making the tuck shop become more eco friendly.
  • Regular segregation awareness exercises for hosts, especially after island refresh clean ups.

Can you tell us about some ongoing sustainability projects at Soneva that we might not have heard about?

Recently I have become more involved with the Waste-to-Wealth programme as the Soneva Jani Eco Centro team leader and have been working on making processes more effective. We have now established faster segregation of the mixed waste that comes in by putting it through a sorting table that has been especially designed for the types of waste created on the island. I am now working on a compost sifting machine, using filter waste from the engineering team and metal parts of broken equipment that has been sitting in the Eco Centro as waste. I am very excited about this project.

What are your hopes for Soneva Namoona?

Soneva Namoona is a project very close to my heart as the project has all the values and beliefs that I personally hold as well. Although I don’t work for Soneva Namoona, I feel like I am a part of the Soneva Namoona team. The projects implemented by Soneva Namoona focus on promoting sustainability within local communities, so I hope the project inspires the next generation to have more eco friendly values. My biggest hope is that I get to work with the Soneva Namoona team directly one day, so that I can contribute to the development of the communities around me.

You work very closely with the community about sustainability — why is it important to get the whole community involved?

My philosophy when it comes to developing our island or any community is ‘our community – our responsibility’. So, I keep telling people that no one person can succeed doing something, so it is important for every single person to get involved somehow, and believe in the same values for anything to be successful.

What advice can you give to people who would like to live a more sustainable life?

If you want to live a sustainable life, always educate yourself and find more information on how you can make a difference. Act on the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Can you tell us a bit about you?

I am from the island of Kudafari in the Noonu Atoll. I have been working at Soneva Jani for five years, since pre-opening. I am always thinking of ways to live a simple life in a more sustainable way.

What do you do to in your free time?

I like to swim, surf and spend my time in the ocean whenever possible.

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