Meet This 19 Year Old Young Achiever Who Happens To Be An Environmental Activist, Wildlife Filmmaker, Arctic Expedition-er & More

Malaika Vaz is the 19-year old girl, who wakes up in the realm of nature, whose eyes smile with the rays of the sun, whose feet tap with the rhythmic motion of the ocean, whose limbs dance with the flip-flapping sound which the early morning birds make. Nature is not just meditation for her, but her friend. Nature wakes her up, makes her happy and teaches her various things. Malaika Vaz, is not just a nature lover but all those things which are quite unimaginable for a teenager to have in her account of life!

She is ranked No. 3 in National Wind Surfing and No. 2 in Regatta. She was the first girl to be a Naval Aviator and was the only Asian to be selected for ‘The Students on Ice Expedition’ to Antarctica. She is also the Brand Ambassador for KOOH and Woodland Adventures. She is the youngest Indian certified pilot and acquired her pilot’s license in Winnipeg, Canada. Her love for nature and sports isn’t just limited here, she loves sailing, scuba diving, horse riding and kayaking.

The girl is a force to be reckoned with, her love knows no boundaries when it comes to wildlife and nature. She was born in Goa and has two brothers. Being a competitive windsurfer, advanced PADI (Professor Association of Diving Instructors) scuba diver and sailor, she developed this unparalled devotion towards the ocean and has also witnessed first-hand the effects of unsustainable tourism on the Marine Ecosystem. This is what inspired her to campaign for ecological protection and strive towards conserving India’s natural resources through the initiatives like the Leave No Trace campaign, which reduced the plastic waste drastically at Asia’s largest music festival Sunburn held at Cannoli Goa, India.

As a rebellious explorer, she was the youngest person to have been on expedition to both the Antarctica and Arctic at the age of 16 and she was the only International Filmmaker to be awarded the National Geographic ROAR Talent Bursary for Wildlife Screen Festival in 2016.

At the Windscreen festival at Bristol, UK her short film Waghoba whereby it was India’s entry in the emerging talent category. This 17-minute film showed the newly protected forest in Maharashtra and also explored the raging fears for the tigers by the residents living there. The story revolves around the three faces of the tiger, relatively where Waghoba (or the tiger) is considered a provider, who as the film progresses becomes the destroyer and then finally becomes the Deity. The story reflects the moral that a slight change in the environmental relationship in the society can change the mindset of the people and thereby reduce the Human Animal Conflict.

Presently, Malaika is based in Bengaluru, working as a wildlife researcher and scriptwriter at Felis Creations which is one of the Country’s best wildlife production houses which is led by the versatile and internationally reputed wildlife cameraman, Sandesh Kadur.

Beyond her love for wildlife and nature, Malaika also strives to make the condition for women better. She is the founder of a women’s employment organization Kriya, whereby she works to empower the women victims of violence and marginalized communities through the adventure sports and outdoor education. Under this organization, she works for the empowerment of-

  1. Women victims of domestic violence & sexual abuse
  2. Children from criminally-labelled tribal communities
  3. Under-privileged youth

Malaika was highly proud of her organization when Nepal earthquake happened, the Kriya team climbed 6000 meters higher in the Himalayas, whereby they raised the funds for the re-construction of homes of Nepali Sherpa communities.


She looked up to the one of the world’s most important water conservationist of our time, Sylvia Earle.

Her campaigns, Leave No Trace and Protect the Poles Movement are the ones which drive her to strive ahead in the environment protection. “I am passionate about telling stories that connect the natural world with the human- that give audiences a better understanding of our interconnected dependence”, She says.

There can be many people like Malaika Vaz, but what sets her apart from all those people, is ‘she believes in action and expressing her love for the environment by doing something. Many love the nature but a few are who do something about it. Malaika Vaz is the ‘eye’ for all those who are not aware of the beauty of the nature; an ‘ear’ for those whose strong voices aren’t reaching out to the world; and a ‘voice’ for those who are still sleeping through the many miss-happenings of the nature.

For more inspiration, see her Video here!

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