This is My Forest

by Community Forests International on October 11, 2013

People are the engines of global change.

Community leaders bring change into their villages and inspire the whole community. Chema Juma wakes up in the morning and cooks breakfast for her 6 children. She starts the cooking fire with a charcoal substitute made from sawdust and leaves. Water boils on a clay stove that she made and fired with her own two hands. When she leaves the house she stops at the community nursery. Some days she weeds the avocado, acacia and teak seedlings. Other days she’s transplanting lemon seedlings or grafting mangos. Chema and her extending family cultivate over 10 acres of maize, peanuts, millet and watermelons within their planted forest – that’s the equivalent of over 10 football fields of produce. They tend the fields by hand. Chema has been planting trees with People are the engines of global change. Community leaders bring change into their Community Forests International since 2008 and her forest is a showcase for the island. Originally planted for timber, the forest has transitioned into a dynamic forest ecosystem. Teeming with wildlife, Chema’s forest has several varieties of shrubs and trees, all of varying ages and height, providing critical shade to her food crops. Chema has grown a forest. “Life here is hard. We are always working in order to provide for our lives, for our families. Before working with Community Forests International we had nothing in our village. Our men would fish in order to get something to eat. Now we work on the land.” - Chema Juma, Treasurer of the Vitongoji Tree-planting Cooperative, Vitongoji

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