A quote from the Trees for Life website touched my heart. It reads “We plant hope and watch joy grow. We plant inspiration and watch miracles happen.” Over the years I’ve watched Trees for Life keep to the mission at hand: empowering people to help themselves – not through hand-outs, not through money, but through education, training and, above all looking for the, sometimes, hidden potential of a situation.
I believe the organization’s essence is found through the philosophy of the founder, Balbir Muthur who says “Trees for Life is not about planting trees but about the regeneration of the spirit of people.”
The concept seems simple enough: work to empower those within a community who wish to make it better; a very strong, written set of values; education commitment where you agree that you will help two others; taking a very long-range approach (say 1000 years); adhering to a set of ethics and let’s not forget the Trees.
In my mind, I’ve always called these the Giving Trees – trees you donate to be planted somewhere in the world where a community has created its own project with the help and guidance of Trees for Life.
Trees for Life, founded back in 1984, isn’t about how many trees have been planted throughout the world, but what’s happened because of the trees. Schools and libraries, hospitals and clinics have been built, the land reforested, the people inspired to help others – the stories are endless.
Trees has several other initiatives including Books for Life (I love this), Moringa Trees, Cook stoves and educational opportunities for teachers. I plan to write other articles about these projects as well.
Please take a look at their website – it’s well-organized and beautifully written. Their volunteers and staff are so helpful and pleasant – thanks Balbir and Treva.