This year to celebrate National Tree Week, development charity TREE AID is calling for support to spread the benefits of trees, by helping communities in Africa plant trees and Grow Hope for their families.
Every 2 minutes a child dies from hunger and malnutrition in the drylands. Deforestation and climate change have led to degradation of the land making it increasingly hard for farmers to grow enough crops to feed their families. During the ‘hungry months’, families often survive on only one meal a day. But there is hope. Trees can provide a direct answer to hunger, as a source of fruits, nuts and greens rich in vitamins and minerals. And by selling tree products, like shea butter, families can get crucial income, which they can use to buy the food their children so desperately need.
TREE AID’s CEO John Moffett explains: “This week is the start of the Paris Climate Conference, focusing the world’s attention on the importance of taking care of the environment. Trees are vital for families in Africa, providing stability for the soil, and a valuable source of nutrition. At TREE AID we work directly with communities, giving them the training and equipment they need to grow trees, a lifeline when food is scarce.”
Since the charity launched in 1987 10 million trees have been planted across Africa. But the work doesn’t stop there. TREE AID have launched an urgent appeal to help a further 32,000 families get the skills they need to plant trees and grow hope for the future.
Mother of 6 Jalia Dimmie, from Northern Ghana, has benefited from a TREE AID project in her village. “Before the project, there was a lot of suffering,” she says.
With TREE AID’s support, she can now grow trees to feed her family with nutritious foods such as mango, nuts and plums. What’s more, she’s learnt how to process shea butter into soap, and to package, distribute and sell it. With the money she earns, she can save to buy food in the lean season. “Now that we have more food to eat, it’s been a long time since my family were sick,” Jalia continues. “We are no longer just surviving, we’re living.”
In celebration of National Tree Week, TREE AID are calling on tree-lovers across the UK to support the Grow Hope appeal by fundraising or making a donation, helping 32,000 more families like Jalia’s permanently build a better future.