Through the generous support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is planting 5 000 indigenous trees in Kuyasa RDP settlement and the surrounding areas over the next few weeks.Kuyasa, meaning “Sunrise” in Xhosa, is a dusty RDP settlement 35km from Cape Town city centre. It was developed during 2000 and 2001 for communities from informal settlements in the greater Khayelitsha area. While a small portion of the community is employed in the nearby factories and construction companies, the majority are unemployed.Over the past two years, this area, and other neighboring settlements, have seen a huge improvement through infrastructure development, from the reconstruction of roads, community halls, clinics and schools, to public transport stations. However, there has been little greening and this area urgently needs trees to combat flooding and soil erosion, a serious problem in the current wet season.
The first 3 200 NLDTF Trees for Homes, distributed to residents on 15 and 16 April 2011, will also address other environmental and social challenges faced by the community, providing shade, settling the dust, enhancing biodiversity, and can even help to alleviate food insecurity and improve health through the fruit trees planted. The 1 800 additional trees will be planted in the next few weeks and over the next 15 years these 5 000 trees will sequester 1 873 tons of carbon dioxide, mitigating climate change.
The thousands of people living in the barren, dusty, and basically unhealthy settlements of Khayelitsha, would benefit greatly from an extensive greening programme. Those who live in areas where FTFA has previously distributed Trees for Homes, who have not yet received trees, have pleaded with the greening social enterprise to provide trees for their dwellings too. So this NLDTF contribution is greatly appreciated.
One hundred unemployed community members in the beneficiary areas are receiving training and stipends to help FTFAs Community Forester, Desmond Winkworth, to distribute these trees and educate their neighbours about the many benefits of trees, including basic information about climate change.
"You community educators are doing an important green job, helping your neighbours to look after these trees properly so they grow to give shade to your children and make your houses more valuable,” said Mr Winkworth. “This is the International Year of Forests and we are making an urban forest here in Khayelitsha.”