When Tasmi Quazi was six she offered a beggar on a rickshaw in Bangladesh a packet of chips. He refused the offer, but was visibly moved.
The incident left a lasting impression on her of the dehumanising effects of poverty. When she was in matric she received an award for social service and chose to study architecture at university with the aim of working on projects focusing on community-based and sustainable practices of design.
As research officer at Asiye eTafuleni, Quazi has played a significant role in various similar projects. She has managed the Imagine Durban Inner-City Cardboard Recycling project, which, since 2010, has helped to increase the income of informal recyclers through several new interventions.
For Quazi, it’s an ongoing labour of love. “The proactive approach of the AeT team and the informal workers’ drive to be agents of change has struck a remarkable dynamic of developing innovation through collaboration, which is not only pioneering but utterly inspiring,” she says. — Fatima Asmal