â€œONE GENERATION PLANTS THE TREES; ANOTHER GETS THE SHADEâ€� Chinese proverb
Weâ€™d like to introduce you to some of the elders and community leaders who are leading the way by planting trees in their communities, ensuring that there are trees and a healthy planet for future generations to come. They also educate and inspire younger members of their communities to follow in their tree-planting footsteps.
MR OPEDI. Mbale, Uganda.
Raphael Opedi: â€œPlanting trees is part of my lifeâ€�
This is Raphael Opedi. He is a 91-year-old retired teacher living in Mbale, Uganda. He and his wife, Christine live in a modest house, however, the land surrounding their house is large and Mr Opedi has been planting trees there since 1979. He cut down the fences and opened his garden for his neighbours and the surrounding community to enjoy, and even pick fruits like mango, oranges and avocados from the fruit trees he has grown.
As a teacher, he understands the importance of education where care for the environment is concerned. He has dedicated a lot of his life to not only planting trees but encouraging his family and the children he taught to plant trees too.
Christine Opedi in the grounds where she and her husband have been planting trees for years.
MAKUNYA WOMEN. Namiswinda, Uganda.
The Makunya Women meet twice a week at their tree nursery just outside Mbale, Uganda. Their bond is strong and clear to see. They come together to ensure seedlings are replanted in their heavily deforested community. In fact, their nursery alone produces 35,000 seedlings each year which they distribute for free. They have also been trained in stove construction. These stoves are energy efficient using approximately 60% less firewood than traditional ovens. If someone in their community doesnâ€™t have a stove they will go and build a stove and train the person/family how to use it.
â€œBeing part of this group has improved our relationship with the community because we are working together as women, friends and community membersâ€�
STEPHEN NGUMBAO. Bore, Kenya.
Stephen Ngumbao is a wise, whispering kind of man. He is a retired teacher, and along with a friend they founded Kundeni primary school in Bore, Kenya which has on its grounds approximately 10,000 trees, planted by Stephen and the children on the school.
On his own land Mr Ngumbao has been planting (mostly) cashews for many years. He has always used his position within the community and as a teacher to encourage others to not only plant trees but to stop charcoal burning. Through his teaching, he has nurtured entire generations of school children who remain in the community of Bore, now managing tree planting and forest protection projects, such as Community Carbon Link and Bore Green Umbrella.