Meet the people behind JENGA!

Melanie Steggink (40)
Origin: Holland / Living on Zanzibar for 9 years
Education & profession: Bachelor Social Work / Master degree solution-focused short therapy / Master degree in Intensive Ambulant Family Counselling.

“From 1997 to 2007 I worked in different social & therapeutic settings. For 2 years at a reintegrating program for recovering drug addicts, 5 years as a social worker with teen-age mothers in a multidisciplinary facility that housed all service required by teen mums, and the last 3 years as an Intensive Remedial Teaching Family Therapist. In 2007 I moved to Zanzibar to manage my own guesthouse and the first kite centre on Zanzibar. Whenever I’m back in Holland, I work at a 24 hour care setting for children who can’t live with their families on a long or short-term base.”

Mrisho Haji Vuai (41)
Origin: Zanzibar
Education: Bachelor in Hotel & Tourism / Food Production /Human Recourse Management at Mwalimu Nyerere Academy.

“From 1998 to 2003 I worked at the Visitors Inn Hotel as a chef de cuisine. In 2010 I became the Assistant Manager. Since 2001 I’m a member of the Hands Across Borders Society, since 2008 I’m also a member of the Board of Directors at a Marine Culture Organization. For these two organizations, I used to be a translator in the field. I work a lot with government institutions, like Ministry of Education, Environment & Commission for Tourism. Since 2006 I’ve he been working with Acra as a Public Relation Officer on the project Asila cooperation, in Jambiani, Paje, Bwejuu and Nungwi.”

Ronny Bender (47)
Origin: Germany / living for 11 years on Zanzibar
Profession: Owner of several villas on Zanzibar / a safari tour operator company/ a tented lodge in the Serengeti / a dhow furniture company

“I studied geography, with the emphasize on developing studies, and it was always my aim to create sustainable income for the local communities. Speaking fluently Swahili, I learned that successful business is based on good teamwork, enthusiasm and business awareness for all staff. With the establishment and success of the dhow furniture company, which uses old wooden boats to create unique furniture, we learned that many more ideas of handcrafts, especially with the recycling and upscaling idea, and agricultural products are feasible for Zanzibar, and that this would be a great help for locals to diversify and sustain their income.”

Margherita Marvasi (45)
Origin: Italia / Living for 8 years in Zanzibar
Profession: designer & owner MAGò atelier.

“I have my degree in Political Studies, with a specialization in International Relations. Between 1994 and 1999 I worked as a freelance fashion-editor for some of the main Italian magazines (l’Espresso, Marie Claire, D, Gioia, Il Venerdi’ di Repubblica, Max). In 1999 I got employed as a professional journalist by Gruppo L’Espresso and wrote for, Kataweb and In 2004 I moved to Zanzibar and managed Hakuna Majiwe Lodge for 2 years, after that I opened MAGò atelier and started to work with a Tanzanian team of tailors. Today MAGò Couture has two boutiques in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and exports its collections to Europe.”

Photography: Shanye Thomas
Graphic & webdesign: