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£1,930raised of £20,000 target by 31 supporters

Weʼre raising £20,000 to Plant trees to provide income and protect livelihoods

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Malawi suffers from one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world - it has lost 85% of its forests in the last 30 years, and yet, 90% of the people still rely on firewood and its derivatives for cooking and for heating - What is going to happen when there is no more wood? It is a scary thought and it is going to happen if no action is taken. We find it terrifying that most people (here and abroad) seem to be entirely unaware of the issue and we wonder when the wake-up call will be - so we are trying. Prevention is better than a cure right?!

And so we set up Zomba TREEZ . It all started 3 years ago with the agreement from the Forestry Department that we could plant trees in the water catchement areas. Our priorities were twofold: to protect the water table from dropping further and providing the communities with trees that would be valuable to them: fruit trees, fast growing trees that could be coppiced, but also nitrogen fixing trees. We aim eventually to be able to provide bee hives in some of the newly planted areas, but also the exisiting areas as a further source of income for the villagers around. And this year we are going to be building our first solar dryers, a means to be able to preserve the excess fruit in the times of plenty.

So far we have planted over 18,000 trees but it is work in progress - we hope to grow the project as the need is so desperate but we can't do it alone.

So why £20,000 you may ask? Yes it is a lot but tree planting does not come cheap. The seedlings needs to be bought, the land needs to be prepared, the trees need to be planted, they need to be maintained thoughout the rainy season as otherwise they could be swamped by other faster growing plants - and then in the dry season, they need to be protected from fires.

Fires rage across the country every year and every year Malawi loses thousands of trees so it is vital to be able to protect these little guys until they are old enough to fend for themselves. In our case this means sponsoring 2 football teams to help with patrolling, the creation of fire-breaks and fire-fighting, buying tools for the Tour Guides on the Plateau who also help, the Forestry Department who need supplementing, the football teams and for various groups of women who help with the tree planting and maintenance.

To give you more concrete examples:

To plant and maintain 1 hectare (around 1220 trees) costs roughly £500.

Each year for the past 3 years, we have been planting an average of 6 hectares and maintaining the new and the old ones:

That is £3,000 just for new trees each year, and that represents only 7,000 odd trees - that is not nearly enough, but hopefully with your support, that is what we can afford.

The fire season costs, including the sponsorship of the teams, tools and training are around £3,000. And if you think about it: 6 hectares really isn't that much - we need to be planting so many more.

And the good thing about it is that most of the money is fed into the local economy so the communities around us are not only benefitting from more stable water levels, decreased soil erosion, sustainable sources of wood, etc but also additional income :)

And then to help us with our project, we need to replace our dying pick-up. We need a new "tree ambulance": a 4x4 that can ferry people to the fires on the mountain as quickly as possible, a truck that can move the seedlings from A to B. By "new" we don't mean it literally, we are aiming for a sturdy 2nd hand vehicle - we just want a reliable pick-up that can work for and with us :)

But we are not sitting here doing nothing whilst we wait for someone to donate some money: all dinners and lunches from non-resident guests are donated to TREEZ, we have lovely guests who have and continue to help and we have friends and family who contribute too but always need more.

This year and hopefully every year from now on, we are holding a Run 4 Reforestation to help with the project. All the proceeds will go towards Zomba TREEZ. It consisted of 3 races: a 5km, a 10km and a 21km on and around the Plateau - It was exciting!

And now the run is done and dusted and it was a huge success - with more than 300 participants, we had more than double the number we expected :)) As the numbers were so high, we had to share out the goodies a bit more but I think that everyone went away really happy and with a tree to plant :)

The entrance fees and the raffle helped to raise just over £3,000 so we are chuffed to bits - This will help pay for the tools used for fire prevention for the the lower and upper forestry office, the tour guides, Nankhunda Transformation, Zomba Forest Lodge and Casa Rossa - Together we can cover quite a chunk of the mountain :)

There was a pretty big fire on one of the route marking days leading up to the race and sadly the fire was not controlled in time despite being in one of the legal loggin areas. It is suspected that illegal loggers set the fires but the issue was that no one knew how to control it and so ran away - a glaring example of why fire hazard awareness is essential!

Ultimately, whether you want to help a poor country or not, whether you are into conservation or not, if you want to stay alive, we need trees, everywhere.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read all this and for any small amount you may be tempted to donate :)

As one of my favourite organisations posted the other day:

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  • Thomas Inch21 days ago
    Thomas Inch

    Thomas Inch

    21 days ago
    Update from the Page owner

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  • Thomas Inch21 days ago
    Thomas Inch

    Thomas Inch

    21 days ago

    Dear all, thank you for your kind support so far. As the dry season intensifies, Tom has been heavily involved in rallying the various communities around Zomba to help with the fire prevention effort including making sure that the different teams across the mountain have enough tools and spreading environmental messages amongst the local communities via gospel and hiphop songs that we sponsored to be recorded this year. Petal has been busy with the organisation of the Run 4 Reforestation fund-raising event on the 8th September :)

    Share this update to help us raise more

2 months ago

Thomas Inch started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 9/18/2018 6:40 PM



  • Amy Margolies

    Amy Margolies

    Sep 18, 2018

    Awesome! Thank you

  • Carrie Johnson

    Carrie Johnson

    Sep 15, 2018


  • Eliza & Danny Kahn

    Eliza & Danny Kahn

    Sep 14, 2018

    Simply amazing. We want to be like you guys when we grow up.


  • Ann Holliday

    Ann Holliday

    Sep 13, 2018


  • Brian & Jacki Leah

    Brian & Jacki Leah

    Sep 12, 2018


  • Samantha Stowers

    Samantha Stowers

    Sep 8, 2018

  • Art Shaw

    Art Shaw

    Sep 7, 2018

    This donation is thanks to you and others who love Malawi, and for being a good friend to my daughter, Caitlin Shaw, and to Yash Gharat.


Thomas Inch

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About the fundraiser
Thomas Inch

Thomas Inch

Zomba, Malawi

Tom and Petal are owner/managers of Zomba Forest Lodge. Our background is in hospitality but we are keen conservationists and so we learn what we can and share what we learn :)

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