Healing the earth, one tree at a time

In April 2023, EERUI in collaboration with We4All embarked on an ambitious program of planting trees and creating awareness on sustainable development to learners and educators in schools and communities. The three-month project had two main deliverables: Instilling a sense of responsibility and global awareness in students under the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) campaign and planting trees in schools under the Trees for Schools campaign.

ESD aims to empower learners to resolve global challenges through transformative action. It focuses on promoting environmental integrity, economic viability, cultural diversity, and a just society. Climate change, being one of the greatest challenges of this generation, was at the centre of the ESD activities that we conducted in the schools. Students were made aware of the devastating effects of climate change to humanity and the planet and the greater risk posed to them by the continued inaction. The learners were also enlightened on several sustainable practices such as embracing the concept of reusing and recycling, responsible consumption and proper disposal of harmful waste. Values of empathy, critical thinking and responsibility were also instilled to the learners through various fun activities.

Under the Trees for Schools campaign, learners were enlightened about the importance of taking practical action in reversing the climate change trend by planting trees in their schools. They were encouraged to apply the values of empathy and responsibility by planting trees as a way of healing the earth and ‘seeking forgiveness’ from the planet on their behalf and on behalf of the past generations for the transgressions committed to the planet over time. The learners took control of the planting process as well as maintenance. The tree planting activity was also extended to the neighbouring community where we identified spaces within the community and engaged the community members in the tree planting exercise. 

The project lasted for three months and exceeded our expectations. We planted a total of 2,040 trees in five schools and two community spaces against our initial plan of 2,000 trees. Moreover, the project created a renewed sense of urgency among the learners and the community regarding climate action. The students not only connected with real-life issues but also fostered a sense of responsibility toward the environment and became role models to their peers. Schools were also inspired to take eco-friendly measures and nurture a generation of conscious global citizens, thereby playing a vital role in transforming the world, one step at a time, one tree at a time.

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EERU Initiative is a grassroots, volunteer driven initiative that improves access to quality education for children in rural and urban slums most of whom have largely been left behind in education.

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