Hakim Mai, an inspiring climate change fighter

Hakim Mai in her garden. Pakistan. Photo: Oxfam

"Repeated floods and disturbed rain patterns were depriving us of food. Even when there were no floods, early or late rain spells became a permanent threat to our crops which are the source of our livelihoods. I had not heard of the climate change phenomenon. I only later found out that this is the result of climate change." Hakim Mai is a 27 year old mother of two small children living in the Multan District of the Punjab Province in Pakistan. "Our district is bearing the brunt of the worst impacts of climate change at present," she says. 

"I was part of a poor community, facing persistent threats to our livelihoods from the effects of climate change." Hakim and her family members often had to go to bed hungry. "But then I decided to make a difference, and I am happy with the results of my efforts. I can see how it has improved life for my family and my community."

An opportunity to improve the life of my family and my community

Hakim took part in the "Economic opportunities and women empowerment for food security" project run by the Doaba Foundation and supported by Oxfam. "Duaba gave me the opportunity to improve the life of my family and my community. I became the office bearer of the Gahlu Welfare Committee in my village. I took a keen interest in training, especially training in kitchen gardening through which I could make sure my family had enough food. I am confident now that my children will not starve and will get a proper education."    

Hakim is now president of the village committee that incorporates some 70 people. "My own suffering did not stop me from serving other people; helping to resolve health related and other problems of women in my community. I mobilized scores of women to learn kitchen gardening and now they are producing enough food for their families. Hunger, malnutrition and hard work could not stop me from dreaming of getting my children educated and every member of my community having enough to eat." 

I am glad to be a climate change fighter

Hakim’s family now has enough to eat, even during days of disaster. "I am glad to be a climate change fighter and will continue to work to improve the lives of others. But I urge the government to come up with climate change policies in consultation with local communities. The developed world should help to fight climate change too, as it is primarily responsible for this phenomenon that is damaging our lives and livelihoods."