A population of 515,696 inhabitants living in an area of 298 square kilometers, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia and geographically one of the world's most dispersed countries. The country is divided into 26 areas called (atolls). Out of the total 1200 islands, people live in 200 islands. The average population of the islands is 2000 people. Some islands are inhabited with 400 people, but each every island is separated by ocean sea, which is why traveling between the islands has been always a challenge for us (locals) and visitors.
The Maldives was listed on the top 20 poorest countries of the world in the 1980s World bank report. In the past, the country was mostly depending on free donations. After the tourism started in 1972 slowly the country started growing and today the country is standing on its feet, but still, the dispersity of the country makes it hard for governing the country.
TransportationTransportation has been always a big challenge for Maldivians. To travel between each island a sea vessel is needed and during the bad weather the Maldives waves get as high as 10 feet, even today many small boats collapse aside and people lose their life in Maldives.
Drinking WaterThere are many islands even today without fresh water for drinking and one of them is our homeland GA.Maamendhoo. Even today (27/02/2019) people collect rain water from the roofs. When the dry season comes and the collected water runs out, people will start using the well water, which is not very fresh.
EducationThe Maldives holds one of the highest literacy rates in the world. 98% of the people of Maldives can read and write, but the problem is not all of the islands has higher education. Most of the islands including our homeland does not have good facilities and many schools are up to the secondary level, which mean for higher education people should leave the island and the poorest people cannot afford this movement. This is also the reason why more people are attracted to the main city.
MedicalSimilar to education, medical is also a challenge for the Maldivians. The biggest problem is dispersity because of that the government has to provide all facilities like (a powerhouse, hospital/clinic, school, etc..) for all the islands even for those islands with population of 400 people, when its bad weather it's not safe, expensive and many shutdowns the boats for the bad weather. A bigger hospital is not possible to operate on an island where a population less than 2000 people, that's why many islands have small clinics. Until 1998 there was not even a clinic in many islands, that's why many of our generations from those islands were delivered at our own houses, with the help of the neighbors.
None of the Maldives' coral islands is higher than six feet (1.8 meters) from the sea level, makes it the lowest country in the world. It is in the risk of submerged into the ocean, at a high tide in the capital city the sea level reaches 7 inches.IPCC report - Rising sea level and its effects on low islands Our target is to plant 1000 trees in local islands by the end of 2020, certainly not enough to reduce global warming, but we have to do something because we are the ones will suffer in the first place, due to rising sea level.
Being in the center of the world separated by a huge ocean, Maldives also faces a strong ocean current. This is believed to be one of the reasons for soil erosion. This is becoming a huge threat to many islands and its peoples. To protect these little islands, stone barracks are needed.If we become a success, this our target for the next 10 years, to start the project of stone barracks in our homeland.
Even though the entire economy of Maldives depends on tourism, still negligence is part of the community. Many plastics are founded in the Maldives Ocean. In Maldives every year on June 8 the world ocean day is celebrated and some of the community service organizers arrange cleaning our house reefs and remove plastic from the ocean .Our target is to involve in this event from next year by funding the organizers or by participating
The Maldives islands are multi-faceted. The culture, traditions, and customs of the country are mostly influenced by Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Arab, Indian, Persian, Indonesian and even African influences. A fabulous cultural mix that makes all the richness of the Maldives.Sadly today the culture and traditions of the country are almost faded away, The Maldives we were born on (the 1990s) was a different place than what it is today, many believe it was the golden age, as the time of transformation began from an underdeveloped country to a developing state was achieved in between. Luckily our generation has witnessed and experienced many traditions, culture and the struggling life of our ancestors, before (1999) children were delivered in their own houses, because of no hospital was available on the island, the process of the delivery is a very risky and serious matter that everybody on the island gets involved. Handling the matter cause deaths due to the non-availibility of medical staff, technology, and no conventional medicines. This is the story of our generation. A life without electricity, gas, telecommunication, motorized vehicles, vaccine, freshwater was a huge challenge for many of our generations to survive. Today many things have changed, but still many islands remain with some basic needs like (freshwater, Sewages, shelter, etc...) With all of those miseries still, the people of Maldives were able to survive and live with peace and prosperity. We had kindness, support, unity, bravery, and courage in our people, probably the most united nation of the world during that time. Brave people volunteers by risking their lives. Our grandparents traveled to Sri Lanka to get rice and other food supplies without any modern navigation, the trip has a very small chance to find back home. It was a do or die trip that takes 2 months minimum, navigated by looking at the stars on the sky some people never make it back home. The whole community was built on depending on each other's support. To travel between the islands, the bokkura (small sailboat) was used, these boat owners don't charge the people, yes it was always free back in the 1990s to travel between close-by islands. The people of the island will gather in an assembly point when a horn is whistled, it means it is either an emergency or it requires the support of everyone. Along with this, we have also witnessed many traditions and cultures, that is unfortunately not practiced or seen in today's community anymore. Apart from that, we had a wonderful life, the environment was much more natural. The blue whales are spotted close by our house reef, yellowfin tuna comes to our shores, turtles lay eggs in our houses. Most of our childhood life was spent on the ocean, with wildlings and creatures, swimming with sharks without knowing its nature was probably a stupid thing, but it was a fun activity and we never felt threatened by the giants 8 feet long tawny nurse sharks ("nidhan miyaru" sleeping shark - local name) it was a funny thing to wake the shark while holding its tail so that it runs on the sudden awake for a 2-meter distance with us and stops.
Only very few of those moments were captured in pictures, that's why many of the new generation and visitors cannot even imagine the life of a Maldivian before the 20th century, but everything is still very fresh in our minds. That's why we want to use those memories to bring back culture and traditions.