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Birthday Tree Planting Campaign Launched

Participants pose for a group photo after the launch of the campaign.


ON Friday 29th June, the long-awaited Birthday Treeplanting Campaign was launched at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Lang'ata. The event was graced by students from three partner schools namely; Huruma Girls and Our Lady of Mercy. Others that graced the event were school administrators, Sisters, and Brothers. The event held in CUEA's Missio Hall kicked off at 10:30 am with a word of prayer from Sr. Mary Sebastian of JPIC-FA.

Students from the two participating schools engaged in an environmental talk while highlighting the dangers of destroying nature. Self-expression in public was encouraged as a key leadership trait while musical and dancing entertainment was offered by the students. Speeches were given by several invited guests but Sr. Mary Sebastian was the first one to give a 'nature talk' by emphasizing that treeplanting is a continuous process where trees should be well-groomed and looked after in their growth stages. She added that if a tree is planted for one's every birthday, the whole earth would be filled with countless trees. Sr. Mary told the participants that she has always taken inspiration from her mentor the late Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai an internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate. She added that Prof. Wangari inspired many others like her to love and care for the environment and therefore we should emulate her. She also thanked the campaign's partners for collaborating with JPIC-FA to make the campaign a reality.


Birthday celebrants cutting the cake.


Another guest speaker Fr Hermann Borg, Chairman, Mother Earth Network said that the alarming rate at which deforestation is being carried out in Kenya is truly shocking because of the climate change it has brought about and its adverse impacts such as drought, prolonged flooding, and displacement of wild animals. Further emphasizing the need to plant more trees, he said that we not only need to plant trees but as well as caring for them until maturity to ensure a sustained growth.

On her part, Sr. Rose Macharia from the Sisters of Mercy said that she was happy about the campaign and appreciated the participating students for their attendance in large numbers. In her speech, she said that our careless actions bring about natural disasters that arise out of deforestation and implored the students to deeply reflect on the kind of earth they would want to live in and to leave behind for the future generations. Sr. Rose added that the earth is God's gift towards us and so we should take good care of it. She also gave an example of Rwanda and how it is taking the lead in greening Africa and challenged the participants to emulate them.


Fr. Hermann Borg giving a speech at the campaign launch.


The campaign coordinator Mr. Steven Kezamutima warmly welcomed the participants to the campaign launch and he asked them to join him in this cause by encouraging their peers to do the same. He challenged them to a treeplanting contest by taking photographs of trees they have planted and sharing them on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Birthday celebrants were called out to the stage and birthday song was sung to them by the audience led by Sr. Mary Sebastian. Later on, a birthday cake was cut and served by the celebrants as a sign of celebrating the gift of life. Afterward, the participants engaged in treeplanting activities by planting more than 50 tree seedlings. Some tree seedlings were offered to participants to take them and plant them at their schools and homes.


Sr. Mary Sebastian joining the participants in planting the trees.

In an interview with Mr. Steven Kezamutima the campaign coordinator, he said that the campaign will be observed every month but in different institutions. He revealed that the next event will be held at Alliance Boys School in Kikuyu in July at a date to be determined later. He implored everyone who cares for the earth to take part in this campaign which he emphasized that it is meant to unite all Kenyans of different religious and ethnical background and as part of the Interfaith Dialogue activities. 

The different partners that collaborated with JPIC-FA on this campaign were; Capuchin TV, Mother Earth Network, 350.org, Missionaries of Africa, Radio Waumini, and CUEA DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi Students Association. 


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