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‘Forest and Innovation’ 2024 theme by UN that has seen Soweto Schools partake in plantation of trees

LAUNCHED to mark the International Day of Forest on March 21 and the Freedom Month programs around the country this month of April, the project is being carried out by P&G in partnership with Food and Trees for Africa.

Learners from Thobeka Primary School in Meadowlands were the first to get their hands dirty a week ago and planted 30 fruit trees and 20 indigenous plants as part of the campaign.

Now more than 10 schools in Soweto and surroundings have been added as beneficiaries (recipients) of hundreds of tree donations when the schools reopen for the second term this April. Some of the 13 identified schools include; Tumang Primary, Lamula Jubilee and Matseliso Secondary schools in Meadowlands, Fleurhof Primary, Senyamo Primary in Dobsonville, Vezokuhle Primary in Orlando West, Braamfischerville Centre of Excellence Pre-school, Sizwile School for Deaf Children in Dobsonville, and Isiseko Primary in Jabavu.

A total of 1 000 trees will be planted across 20 schools and selected communities in Gauteng throughout March and April. These trees, including indigenous species providing shade and fresh fruit, will offset an estimated 369 tonnes of carbon dioxide in their lifetime while enhancing biodiversity and benefiting local communities.

Senior VP for Procter and Gamble SA, Alicia Eggington said: “In alignment with the United Nations’ theme of ‘Forest and Innovation,’ we at P&G will be rolling up our sleeves and playing an active role in fighting Carbon emissions. This is part of our ongoing Forest for Good initiative, which aligns with our global Ambition 2030 goals, aimed at improving lives now and for generations to come.”

Robyn Hills, Head of Programs at FTFA, adds, “Corporate social investment in environmental conservation isn’t just good policy; it’s essential for educating and empowering our youth. By embedding environmental stewardship into the curriculum, protecting indigenous knowledge, and establishing food gardens and tree plantations, we’re seeding the future of South Africa with hope and resilience.”

Images supplied (Getting hands dirty. Learners and P&G staff members planting trees in one of the school’s in Soweto).

Thobeka Primary deputy principal Manqoba Kubheka said he was grateful for the initiative, as it would help inspire his learners to be mindful of their own immediate environment and know what do to protect it.

“I’m grateful for the work P&G is doing to help us and look after our planet. It is a meaningful initiative that will give our learners a practical way of being the stewards of their own healthier environments.

Some of our learners already know how to plant a tree through this exercise, and the amazing benefits of doing so. It will also help inspire some of them to be future environmentalists. Hopefully some of them will grow to study agriculture and other professions through this exercise, who knows?” he said.

Top image supplied (The future is ‘green’ as learners look with keen interest during the planting of trees as part of ‘Forest and Innovation’ theme by UN).

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