What is a sharing economy? The authors of a new book explain all

Generation Share aims to take its readers on a journey meeting the people who are changing and saving lives by building a sharing economy.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 4:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 4:24 pm
Benita Matofska a global Sharing Economy expert and photographer Sophie Sheinwald

The book was created by Brighton-based Benita Matofska a global Sharing Economy expert and photographer Sophie Sheinwald.

The stories are shared through photography, social commentary and interviews with 200 change-makers.

“You can read it from cover to cover or just drop in and read certain stories,” Benita reveals.

Ruth and Amy Anslow, sisters who set up a more caring sharing supermarket

“I want to inspire people into action.”

Sharing is something we can all do relatively easily Benita explains from giving food and clothes to sharing your time through volunteering and mentoring.

“We wanted to show that in the book by highlighting different ways you can contribute from laughter sharers to a fashion library and also a human milk bank, where women donate their breast milk.

“I interviewed a woman who said that if it wasn’t for these human milk banks she doesn’t think her son would be here.”

Change maker Aarti Naik with her mum Pushpa founder of Sakhi School for Girls Education

Benita says she was one of the early leaders on the sharing economy.

“It is a system to live by,” she adds.

“The sharing economy is about caring for people and the planet.”

To change the world Benita says you have to change the narrative.

“There are so many negative stories in the press so it is pushing these positive change-maker stories to the forefront and educating the public.” Sophie explains: “From my perspective it’s making these change-makers visible.

“I love talking to strangers and sharing people’s passion and purpose.

“For me it was about capturing that light when they talk about something they love.”

When Benita had the idea for the book she knew she didn’t want it to be academic but wanted to share stories.

“We both had no idea what we were signing ourselves up for when we did it,” explains Sophie.

“It’s been an honour but also an important mission for Generation Share.

“On the book tour we have had some great feedback. We’ve heard how people have felt a connection with those featured in the book when looking through the photos and reading their stories.”

Once the seed for the book was planted Benita searched for a publisher.

“I wanted one that was ethical and Policy Press were just what we wanted.”

The book is made from recycled products, money from sales goes to the school in Mumbai and a tree is planted.

Benita and Sophie have known each other for seven years.

Before her involved in the sharing economy Benita worked in the media as a journalist, producer and director for the BBC and Channel 4.

“I just became fed up with the negative messages that were being sent out all the time,” she reveals.

“I would pitch stories and would be told they are too ‘worthy’. I got fed up.

“After another job saw me share a stage with Desmond Tutu I decided I needed to do something.”

Benita set up her charity The People Who Share and launched the global share week initiative.

“It grew from there really,” she says.The term Generation Share was first coined by Benita in 2011 and referred to the early adopters of the sharing economy.

In the book there are many enlightening stories and one that both Sophie and Benita refer to is of Aarti Naik.

Benita says: “She lives in Mumbai and got in touch with me. She runs a school called Sakhi for Girls Education, a slum school for girls in Mumbai.

“They are the sharing economy in practice.

“The staff and pupils share food, and knowledge the school teaches in two particular languages so if someone speaks another dialect they all help each other.”

Benita adds: “There is magic all around us if you look.”

For more information visit www.thepeoplewhoshare.com/generation-share