Protecting Our Future One Tree At A Time

Protecting our future

“If you take care of your environment, it will take care of you.” So believes Sustainability Manager Christa Smit. This is the reason her department used Avis’ ‘green fund’ to provide trees for planting in Alexandra, in collaboration with Food and Trees for Africa, a social enterprise addressing sustainable development through climate change action, food security and the ‘greening’ of city landscapes. Since its start in 1990, Food and Trees for Africa has planted a staggering six million trees across the continent.

A small group of Avis volunteers travelled to the Alexandra township in late September to plant a combination of Karee and Wild Olive trees, indigenous to the Gauteng region. “There are a lot of exotic trees in Jo’burg,” says John Lightfoot, Director of the Gumboots Foundation , which supports various charities in the Alexandra area. “But we wanted to plant indigenous trees to give people a sense of what has always been here.”

The Avis team’s first stop was Ratang Bana (“Love the Children”),  a non-profit, non government
organisation that provides care, counselling and financial support for orphaned and vulnerable children from the township. “We are their guardians,” says Ingrid Moloi, founder of the organisation and self-described care-giver. The site where Ratang Bana is situated is sandy and barren, though steps have been taken by Ingrid and her supporters to create a greener, more nurturing environment.

Later that same day, seven more trees were planted by Avis personnel outside Sigiya Sonke (“Youth Stand Together”), an aftercare service that focuses on education and cultural activities such as dance. Sigiya Sonke’s grey, dusty pavement was beautified by small saplings, which will slowly enhance the area and provide much needed shade as they grow.

By planting these trees, Avis hopes to protect the environment from carbon emissions little by little, and also to teach the youth of Alexandra the importance and value of our environment, and what it means to protect it.

“We are humbled by Avis’ generosity,” Ingrid said, expressing her gratitude to our team. “From deep in my heart, thank you very much.” Phumlani Zuma, an Assistant at Sigiya Sonke, echoed her thoughts: “We very much appreciate  what Avis has done.”