'The Vamizi Island Project aims to help these villages beat poverty and improve daily life'
Vamizi Island is much more than vacation Nirvana for the privileged few – it is also a home and a community for the more than 1,500 people who live in three villages on the eastern tip of the island.
Involvement at community level has been a priority from the very beginning as conservation and community are inextricably linked.
Historically a place of retreat, Vamizi Island began to be settled by people trying to avoid the ravages of the Mozambique civil war which ended more than a decade ago.
Life in the villages is basic and remarkably traditional. Most people survive by trading fish, caught from dugout canoes, small local sailboats (dhows)or picked off by hand from the island's reefs. There has never been fresh water on the island, so every drop the community uses is brought in by sailboats to the thatched villages twice a day from the mainland.
What may seem in some ways romantic or unspoilt is, in its mirror image, a tough life, beggared by scarce resources and little opportunity.
The Vamizi Island Project aims to help these villages beat poverty and improve daily life, to develop decent medical and school facilities, create new options and conserve this island home and its bountiful ocean riches, for the good of the community, their children and their children's children.