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£2,360raised of £8,000 target by 33 supporters

Weʼre raising £8,000 to Plant trees and generate income in Malawi

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Story

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.

We were initially asking for £20,000 as we desperately needed a truck that could not only reach some of the very rugged areas on the Plateau but also carry people to help when there were fires. Essentially we needed a tree ambulance! However, given that we are frequently complaining about money being misepent by other organisations on unnecessary vehicles, we can understand why many may have been reticent to donate. So we used our own savings, savings that were going to be used to build a small house, to buy our tree ambulance.

The tree ambulance ticked off, the project is ongoing and will be year after year, with no end in sight for now - in fact, it looks like the issues we are tackling are only getting worse which means that they money that we need to raise needs to increase accordingly.

But what does the £8,000 represent? 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 then there are the little projects that we want to experiment with:

- organising a song writing competition (lyrics must carry an environmentally friendly message) amongst the schools bordering the forest reserve and have them judged by a local singer and the winner played on the radio

- try out different water conservation techniques to see if we can help protect the water catchments with more than just tree planting

- paying villagers to make eco -bricks: essentially stuffing plastic bags into plastic bottles - we will then use them to build out door furniture

- organising creative workshop where local artists can share their crafts and enable wood carvers to move away from wood but use their creative flair to make other artifacts.

- sponsoring an athletics team: in exchange, they will be responsible for finding a piece of land where 1,000 tree seeldings will be planted and each year, their sponsorship amount will depend on how many of the seedlings survive.

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 :)

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.

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 helped 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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Updates

3

  • Thomas Inch2 hrs ago
    Thomas Inch

    Thomas Inch

    2 hrs ago
    Update from the Page owner

    If you are on this page, you have probably met us or been told about us and you know that we are passionate about the need for trees and conservation in Malawi. You realise that if we do nothing the country is on course for becoming a desert. The country is desperate, the people are desperate and we are trying to help, so a huge big thank you to you all :)

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Thomas Inch2 months ago
    Thomas Inch

    Thomas Inch

    2 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Thomas Inch2 months ago
    Thomas Inch

    Thomas Inch

    2 months 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

3 months ago

Thomas Inch started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 11/14/2018 9:29 AM

Supporters

33

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Nov 14, 2018

  • Mum and Dad

    Mum and Dad

    Oct 25, 2018

    NatWest reward points we've been saving

    £400.00

  • Amy Margolies

    Amy Margolies

    Sep 18, 2018

    Awesome! Thank you

  • Carrie Johnson

    Carrie Johnson

    Sep 15, 2018

    £40.00

  • Eliza & Danny Kahn

    Eliza & Danny Kahn

    Sep 14, 2018

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

    £75.00

  • Ann Holliday

    Ann Holliday

    Sep 13, 2018

    £20.00

  • Brian & Jacki Leah

    Brian & Jacki Leah

    Sep 12, 2018

    £100.00

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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