On May 18, 2019, a sunny day in winter in Hammanskraal near Pretoria, the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy started off with a warm welcome by the host organisation. The Academy day took place at the Vukani Community Development Organisation centre. The amazing help of the staff from this organisation was really helpful for setting up this event. Their staff and parents organised catering for the children.
On the day, we had the honour of having an environmentalist expert, the senior environmental education officer, Mr Tebogo Cyprian Mathaba from the National Botanical Garden in Pretoria. They also donated 10 trees to plant on the day. The children really enjoyed the environmental talk with him and how important it is to plant trees. Mr Mathaba was very excited to come back to them and help the children plant more trees to create more awareness through a holiday program.
Over 80 children from nine different schools participated at this Academy and were trained as Climate Justice Ambassadors.
They were amazing and now they know how they can save our world tree by tree. The children were impressed by the story of Felix who started this wonderful initiative as a 9-year-old. Felix was inspired by the phenomenal woman Wangari Maathai from Kenya who planted 30 million trees with other women in Kenya.
When the children heard that there are plenty of other Climate Justice Ambassadors in South Africa they were motivated even more to join the global fight against the climate crisis.
They really enjoyed the modules, where they learned a lot about the climate crisis in the world game and one of the highlight modules was the rhetoric training about public speaking. The most fun part started when they finally planted their own trees. They were divided into groups so they can work together.
The children appointed nine Climate Justice Ambassadors to lead their schools' initiatives for green projects.
In the end, every child received a certificate which proves that they are trained Climate Justice Ambassadors. They also got their personal copy of the book “Tree by Tree”.
The Plant-for-the-Planet team with the programme coordinator for South Africa, Manelisi Billy, wants to thank the board members of the Vukani Community Development Organisation and the centre’s manager for making sure that this Academy was a full success.