RBCT Media Release - Trees improve quality of life for Treepreneurs
Trees improve quality of life for Treepreneurs
At a recent “tree store” held in the Dube and eSikhawini communities near Richards Bay in July 2010, three hundred “tree-preneurs” traded their credit for growing over 72 000 trees in the Indigenous Trees for Life Programme. This enabled them to purchase goods to the value of R393 009!
The aim of this project is to help the needy. Individuals are identified within the communities by facilitators and shown how to grow indigenous trees from seed and to nurture them to a certain height, at which point they are traded back to the NGO the Wildlands Conservation Trust who runs the programme. Known as tree-preneurs, these individuals are able to purchase goods such as school uniforms and groceries, clothes, bicycles, wheelbarrows and even building materials.
The growth of the programme since 2006 has astounded Wildlands themselves. “The original vision for the Dube and eSikhawini community was for 100 tree-preneurs to grow 100-200 trees per year each which would enable them to purchase groceries or goods to the value of R 500 – R 1000 a year, a huge help in communities where unemployment is so high,” said Charmaine Veldman, Programme Manager of Indigenous Trees for Life. “But after the excitement created by the first tree store, we had 271 tree-preneurs by the end of 2006, and now in 2010 we have 479 active participants growing and trading trees.”
The project supports a number of households that have little or no income. Over 70% of the participants are learners under the age of 16, and these young people are learning the discipline of nurturing their trees to the necessary height to be exchanged for credit notes for spending at tree stores, where goods are made available by Wildlands through donors.
For nearly five years now, Richards Bay Coal Terminal has been a committed funding partner with the Wildlands Conservation Trust, the conservation NGO running the project here in the Richards Bay area as well as well as in 23 other communities across KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and now the Western Cape.
“This is a significant project that we are pleased to be part of. It is making such a tremendous contribution to the quality of lives of these tree-preneurs! We intend to continue being part of this project to give hope to those learners that make an effort to commit to growing the much needed indigenous trees,” says Zama Luthuli, Corporate Affairs Manager, Richards Bay Coal Terminal.
Between July 2009 and June 2010, goods were traded for 42 883 trees to the value of R 238 330. From the 10 900 trees traded the previous year, the growth in the project year on year is evident. The trees grown are distributed for planting back into the community or into reforestation programmes as part of the Greening Your Future Programme, also run by Wildlands.
Growth in a project such as this reflects not only the dire need for such initiatives, but also the willingness of people to grab opportunities given to them. An entrepreneurial spirit is being fostered in these young people, and with 72 001 trees traded already in July 2010.
For more information
|News Archive | Current News|