Municipality officials visit tree-preneurs in uMkhanyakude
June 15, 2012
Since the ‘Integrated Greening Program’ (IGP) started on the 1st of April 2011 in uMkhanyakude, it has been nothing but successful, sparking the interest of hundreds of community members and growing every day.
From 1 April 2011 until the end of March 2012, 1090 people have been employed through Wildlands Conservation Trust to work in the uMkhanyakude area in the field to facilitate the growing and collection of trees, 224 633 trees have been propagated and 137 400 trees have been planted. The Department of Communications & Public Works recognises this as an amazing achievement for this community and thought it only fitting to visit Tree-preneurs based in uMkhanyakude to personally express their support.
The Tree-preneur concept is a play on words, pioneered by Wildlands, that encapsulates the mix of entrepreneurial skills and the planting of trees. Tree-preneurs grow and look after indigenous trees, Waste-preneurs collect recyclable waste and Food-preneurs grow organic vegetables – as a collective they are referred to as Green-preneurs. Green-preneurs then barter what they have grown or collected for items they need, such as food, bicycles, building materials, JoJo tanks, school fees, school uniforms and books, for example.
The Department of Communications & Public Works chatted to some of the community members about the ‘Integrated Greening Program.’ 64 year old Mkhoyisile Mngomezulu from Khula Village is proud to be associated with this project, “Before this project I used to rely on my pension money to look after me and 8 grandchildren. I have traded more than 3000 trees and have used my trees to get 3 of my grandchildren driver’s licenses. I will keep growing trees as I hope to help my grandchildren further their studies. Growing trees has given my life purpose.”
Lucia Masango from Mtubatuba has traded over 7000 trees and has almost completed building herself an 8 bedroom house; “Having a house that belongs to me has always been my dream and now this project has made my dream come true!”
Led by the Office of the Premier, other stakeholders showing their support for this project include the Department of Public Works, Department of Agriculture, Department of Economic Development, Department of Tourism, Department of Housing and the Municipality.
“This project is so much more than just growing trees,” comments Project Director at Wildlands Roelie Kloppers. “It is uplifting communities and igniting their spirit, promoting a team effort, bringing infrastructure into poverty stricken areas, up-skilling people and ultimately benefiting our economy as a whole.”