Community Powered Change - News from the 2013 Tree Planting Fundraiser

by Community Forests International on June 28, 2013

Canadian tree planters are not your typical philanthropists. They live and work in remote bush camps, dealing with bears and black flies in the Canadian wild. They face student loans, rent, visa debt. They wake up every day with the sun, battling heat, ice or rain in order to bag up trees and replant the cut-over earth. They live and work for their beliefs, no matter what pain. No matter what the cost. Yet despite the challenges of their job, they have managed to support the planting of over 1 million trees on the island of Pemba, Tanzania. As CFI's longest standing supporters, Canadian planters have been here from the beginning - funding our initiatives from day one. Their legacy continues to grow, culminating this year in our most successful fundraiser to date. So how does it Work? Canadian tree-planters that decide to participate in our plant for Pemba fundraiser commit to pledge a portion of their earnings from one day of their planting season. The trees they "plant for Pemba" are counted and their related earnings are donated directly to CFI. We then pass on 100%  of the funds to our partners in Pemba. How many trees are Planted for Pemba? Over the past three weeks, a few hundred young people planted 141,807 trees in Canada, providing $20,979.24 to Pemban communities.

These tree planters have fueled Pemban communities and their tree planting revolution - a movement that has seen thousands of Pembans plant trees to improve their livelihoods and soil; generating food, fuel, and building materials now and into the future. Independence Inspires Every tree planting camp I visit is inspired by the story of Pemba. When I ask why they donate to the projects, the majority of planters say they donate because of our approach to making change. The approach is simple. Inspire positive change by creating an environment that allows for change to occur, while leaving decision-making up to the true experts - the communities themselves. When the tree planting project in Pemba began, funds were scarce and trees were grown for no or low cost. This culture of innovation, which began as a cost saving measure, continues to develop, creating elegant designs and systems that Pembans are building for themselves.

Thank you to the Brinkman and Associates community of tree planters, staff and administration.  Your unique culture and community is changing the Island of Pemba in magnificent ways.

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