Published: 30th May 2019
This father is raising funds to plant 1000 trees in Chennai for his one-year-old daughter
All the contributions made will be utilised towards creating a Micro Fruit Forest in a government school in Chennai
We all wish to contribute something towards saving the environment. But Edward Emmanuel Eltham's desire to give back to society and to create a safe environment for his daughter is of utmost importance to him. A resident of Chennai, Edward has begun a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to plant 1000 trees this Fathers' Day for his daughter and thus pass on the gift of life to the whole community.
Edward, whose daughter Joy is one year old, says, "I stay just off the East Coast Road and every time I want to take my daughter out to a park or someplace outside to play, it's sunny. Even at six in the evening, there's scorching heat outside. I have some trees in front of my house, but there is no place for her to play — there's no shade. During our childhood we had more trees and such places to play, now they are scarce. Only after 6 - 6.30pm can we take Joy out. This was one of the major reasons behind my initiative. Also, our daughter has been spreading joy and showering love unconditionally, which made me think about what we are going to leave behind for our child. That's when I thought of planting trees."
At first, Edward thought it would be a simpler journey as a lot of NGOs and other people have been conducting such initiatives, but soon he realised that he does not have enough money to plant a thousand trees. "Then I came to know about crowdfunding, how it works and set up the campaign. Each tree costs Rs 200. The idea is to only plant native trees that are local to Chennai. Such as neem trees, Ashoka trees, which are native to the city. While I was doing my research about planting trees, I read in a recent news article that Chennai lost 40,000 trees during the Vardha cyclone and its aftermath. All of these reasons together combined and the desire to give back to the community urged me to start the campaign," explains Edward.
His fundraiser was started through the crowdfunding website milaap.org. Till now his initiative has received an amount of Rs 3,800 and the target is set at Rs 2 lakh. Edward says that the entire money collected will also include the maintenance cost for trees for a time span of three years.
Edward with his family
Edward wants to create a Micro Fruit Forest in a government school with the help of these funds so that the school children will have the opportunity to engage with the birds, butterflies and squirrels, relish the fruits and also share it with the community. "We can't randomly go plant trees anywhere, wherever we plant that place needs to be guarded. Somebody has to take the responsibility to maintain it, I alone cannot go every day and do it myself. Thus the idea was to do it in a fenced community. I checked for spaces in my community, but it did not work, the parks in our area also did not allow, so I came up with the idea of doing it in a school. Private schools have a lot of sponsors but I planned to do it in a government school. They appreciated the effort because planting trees will help save the environment and also teach our upcoming generations about sustainability," says Edward.
His major plan is to plant fruit-bearing trees. As kids, Edward and his friends played around mango trees. They used to climb and pluck mangoes. He wants future generations to experience the same. "We want to plant 50 per cent fruit trees, and other nesting trees mainly for birds and animals like squirrels. I have already spoken to one school in Perungudi, I am waiting for the funds, I have also spoken to two other schools in Avadi and Sholinganallur for the same," he says.
It was quite difficult to convince the school authorities and to get permission for plantation, says Edward. Most of the officials, allegedly, wanted money and said they already have trees to take care of and thus they would use the money to maintain them. This came as a surprise. He adds, "But my idea is very clear, we will come, we will dig and plant, you should take care of them. People who are contributing will be invited on the day of the plantation, which is estimated to be on June 16. Also, we kept in mind that not everyone contributes in cash, some have offered saplings, so I asked them to bring it and plant it themselves."
If you plan to contribute in cash or plant a sapling, then you will have a tree planted in your name. Doesn't that sound exciting? To make it more customised and to build a personal connect, Edward says that they will add a small name tag with it. Contributors will receive a quarterly report of the trees through email and WhatsApp along with pictures. "Anytime someone contributes, the details come to my email so I have their email id and mobile number, thus I can send them the reports on time," concludes Edward.
Details for contribution:
Details for direct bank transfer / UPI
UPI: givetoedwarde@yesbankltd (Copy to clipboard)
Virtual account name: Edward Emmanuel Eltham - Milaap
Account number: 8080811080758
IFSC code: YESB0CMSNOC
*To pay via Paytm (for Android users only)* - http://m.p-y.tm/pay-milaap?