Tree Planting Project

India

CASA is the humanitarian and development expression of 24 Protestant and Orthodox Churches in India and is also a related agency of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).  CASA is a long-standing partner of Global Ministries.

The 2004 Tsunami devastated villages throughout Southern Asia, destroying homes, trees, and agricultural land.  Global Ministries has worked closely with partner agency CASA to rebuild homes and plant trees for those affected by the tsunami in Andhra Pradesh and Tami Nadu in southern India.  In many villages, for every house that was built, five saplings were planted at the home and others in public areas.  The trees help renew the soil, provide much-needed shade, and reduce global warming.  They also are part of the general Disaster Risk Reduction strategy because they reduce erosion in the event of future storms.

In the project’s implementation, there were mass tree plantings done in several areas in Andhra Pradesh and in Tamil Nadu.  In Andhra Pradesh the areas chosen included 70 villages in the Nellore, Guntur, Pragasam, and Krishna districts; and in Tamil Nadu 40 villages were chosen in the Tirunelveli, Kaniyakumari, and Tuticorin Districts.  While Tamil Nadu focused on providing saplings where the tsunami houses were built, Andhra Pradesh focused on massive tree plantings and the establishment of nurseries.

Notable examples from the project include the following:

  • In a village in Kaniyakumari district called Chinnathurai, a hybrid variety of badam trees were planted in the common area near a Church.  These were planted as part of the district’s regular Disaster Risk Reduction activity.  The idea was that by planting trees, there would be more shade in that area and it would help in reducing global warming.  What started off as a pilot project, captured the interest of the congregation who began to nurture the trees.  In a hot and humid climate, newly planted saplings will succumb to the heat if they are not properly cared for.  However, in this little village that is in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, the young saplings were nurtured by people who knew the value of growing a tree.  Today more than a dozen trees stand tall as a witness to human care.  The trees offer shade but have also changed the ambience of the common area which is now a good gathering place for the people. It has further instilled the urge to grow more trees in the community. 
  • In another village where the tsunami devastated everything except the relentless hearts of the fisher folk who lived and breathed the sea, CASA not only planted seeds of faith among the people but also planted trees that grew in their backyards.  With lives lost and houses erased from the face of the earth, CASA undertook the daunting task of constructing houses with those affected by the tsunami.  Many regulations needed to be maintained and there were other problems, but CASA was able to accomplish what it set out to do. 
  • The space outside the Chinnadurai church was once a barren place with no shelter from the smothering sun, but now a canopy of trees stands there to offer a solace to those passing by.
  • In the village of Kayalpattinam, for every house that was rebuilt, five saplings were given and trees also were planted by the road.  Today these are fruit-bearing trees that bring a lot of fresh energy to the people. The people from the village have started kitchen gardens which give them a good yield during the rainy season. 
  • Tree nurseries were raised in ten clusters:  Nallaganguvarpet, Khanur, Palkayadhiba, Adavallideebi, Suryalanka, Chinnagarupaliyam, Alagayapailaiyam, Ramanpattinam, Lakshimipuram, and Waakadu.  In each nursery 18,000 saplings were raised.  Three more nurseries were developed in Ponnur near the core program areas, in Bapatla which will be maintained by the Salvation Army, and another in Adavallidebhi to be maintained by local non-profit organization.

CASA’s tree-planting efforts are not complete.

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