Samia Saif’s name means ‘one who is prepared to fight for a noble cause’. Today, the Samia I’ll talk about upholds the meaning of this name perfectly.
It’s not easy for a Bangladeshi woman to dedicate her life to nature conservation. Going against all odds, Samia dared to do exactly that. A zoology graduate from the University of Dhaka, Samia has been with WildTeam since 2009. After providing valuable support to a survey of Bangladesh’s Community Conserved Areas, to researching transmission of zoonotic diseases, from 2011 she has dedicated herself to our majestic tigers. Currently a PhD student at the University of Kent, her research focuses on tigers, one of the most endangered species in the world.
Samia believes that species conservation is essential for ensuring that we preserve the natural world for future generations. She says, “I love wild animals and want to dedicate my life for giving them a chance to survive in the future.” Samia accepted conservation career as a challenge and to excite other researchers, specially women, to show them it is possible to be a conservationist and lead a fulfilling life in Bangladesh.
She has always been ready to volunteer her time and energy for a good cause. Through her work and in her everyday actions, she consistently tries to make people realize the importance of protecting nature. Samia always channels her good spirit outwards onto her family members, friends and colleagues. She believes that no effort ever goes to waste and serving others should always be a priority. This ideal of being completely immersed in the service of others is essential for a good conservationist, and Samia does exactly that.
Whenever she talks to people about nature her good heart shines through, this quality has helped her earn the trust of people near the Sundarbans villages, who have opened their hearts and homes to her during her PhD research. Nodie, a young woman who assisted Samia in the field says, “Samia is good at providing support for young learners like me and in building relationships with villagers who live deep inside the forests. Apart from her project works, she arranged education sessions for children of the villagers and that’s how she endeared herself to everybody.”
Samia has won the prestigious Future for Nature Award 2013 as a recognition of her services for nature conservation. The award committee rated Samia’s services as - Samia is working in an exceptionally difficult environment, as a woman, and shows initiative, courage and dedication. Her work is focused on relationships with people in a concrete way that leads directly to a clear conservation impact. Her courage and her motivation to continue her work make Samia an admirable winner of the Future for Nature Award 2013. On receiving the award Samia says, “The Future for Nature award gives me more responsibility towards nature conservation till there is hope and I believe what Dr. Jane Goodall says- there is always hope”.
I hope that this spirit always guides her through whatever she does in the future, as long as heroes like Samia exist, I believe there will always be hope for nature.