Welcome to Everyday Phenomenal with Saffiya Ismail. This is a weekly column is dedicated to highlighting everyday people living unapologetically; following their bliss, inspiring others; shattering ceilings. home-grown South Africans who are phenomenal people!
In this special we meet an Optometrist practicing in Pietermaritzburg. She is an Executive member of the District AIDS Council CS, Secretary of the Active Citizens Movement Health Portfolio.
Haseena is also a contributor to the formation of a public private community health forum (PPCHF), KZN Regional Representative for the South African Optometry Association (SAOA).
She holds a masters qualification: MPhil HIV/AIDS Management (Stellenbosch) together with other impressive certifications Ocular Therapeutics (State University of New York/UKZN); Diagnosis and treatment of Dyslexia (Die Rooi Appel Instituut); Special Interest in Public Health.
Tell our readers all about yourself?
I am a 33 year old student of life, being molded and groomed at every turn. I am a mother to 3 beautiful sons, a wife to a dedicated husband, a friend, daughter, sister and an active citizen determined to bring change for the broader benefit of society. By profession I am an optometrist holding the highest qualification in optometry practice recently available to South African optometrists, Ocular Therapeutics. I have a Masters’ Degree in HIV/AIDS management and serve on the District AIDS Council. I am also the secretary of the Active Citizens Movement PMB – Health Portfolio where I have been a founding member of a public health project to alleviate a 6000-patient cataract backlog in some parts of KZN.
What makes you happy?
Family and Food 😊
What’s your greatest strength and greatest weakness?
My greatest strength is my determination and commitment. My greatest is weakness is procrastination – I am working on this.
What is your greatest passion?
My greatest passion is to advocate and actively contribute to initiatives which drive change, improve service and create access to care for people in marginalized groups. It is to break social norms and barriers which shackle us and to create opportunities for social cohesion.
What or who inspires you to live your best life?
My late grandfather Rashid Vally. As a child I took great interest in his stories of the struggle for freedom and his active contribution. As an adult I was in awe of the thousands of people who visited us after his funeral sharing personal stories about his contributions to uplift their lives, assist them in their moments of need and to selflessly give what he could for the betterment of South African society. My grandfather ignited my passion for activism in his lifetime and in his passing he ignited my thirst to reach people in big and small ways simply to bridge the inequalities and inequities within societies, to oppose what is wrong and to stand firm and fight for what would bring the best change for all.
Where can we find you in your spare time?
Studying or at the beach
How do you get balance in your life?
My balance in life is solely maintained through regular prayer and the support and efforts of my husband and parents. Fahim takes care of my children and anchors our home through my crazy and chaotic work, study and community engagement schedules. He imposes no demands on me and always tries his best to be accommodating. My mom manages our food (so we don’t starve amidst all the busy-ness) and relieves me of most of my chores despite living 500km away from me. My dad is my biggest fan and critic and my greatest support. He gives me the gentle nudge I need whenever life becomes overwhelming and challenges appear insurmountable. The rest of the balance comes from coffee, cake and delicious biryani 😊
What’s are your thoughts on aging?
Aging is beautiful. It brings with it a sense of liberation, gratitude and fulfillment. With every passing year perspectives change and in my own journey I have found that with time my outlook has shifted from a self-centered one to a much broader one. I have learnt “It is all about the bigger picture and every end is just a beginning”
What “rules” do you live by?
Discipline, punctuality, empathy, engagement. These form the pillars to my approach to everything, from studying, to working and relationships with colleagues, friends and family.
What three things could you not live without?
- My Dad
- My Kids
- My cellphone
Find her on social media on the below:
- Twitter handle: @haseenamajid
- Links: Active citizens Movement- Pietermaritzburg branch
- Majid Optometrist Pietermaritzburg
- Practice website is under development.