19 April 2023 – Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) and Exclusive Books partnered to provide trees and new books to three schools in celebration of Earth Day on 22 April 2023 and World Book Day on 23 April 2023.
Three volunteer days took place at three schools in Gauteng (Cosmo City Secondary School), KwaZulu-Natal (Grandmore Primary School) and the Western Cape (Kronendal Primary School) on 18 April 2023. Combined, these schools cater for 3725 learners and are staffed by 149 educators who will all benefit from the trees and books. Exclusive Books volunteers, eager learners and FTFA facilitators planted one hundred and fifty-five trees at the schools.
“Food & Trees for Africa is particularly excited about projects like these because they encourage learners’ interest in the environment and broaden their perspectives. In spaces that have traditionally been barren, planting trees is one of the most practical and impactful ways to increase carbon offsetting and create green spaces which support children in their learning experiences. We look forward to seeing them read their new books under the shade of these trees in years to come.” – Susan Evans, Event & Trees Distribution Manager.
Both trees and the books that come from them, are essential tools to learning. Between 2010 to 2021, the literacy rate of South Africa decreased by 3.3%. Almost 80% of South African Grade 4 learners still fall below the lowest internationally recognised level of reading literacy. By encouraging children to read new books, and providing them with a beautiful “outdoor classroom” in which to do so, the FTFA and Exclusive Books partnership hopes to instil a love of reading in these learners.
Unsurprisingly, trees are associated with better academic performance, especially in primary school learners attending under-resourced schools. Not only do tree ecosystems provide oxygen and clean air which are vital to our wellbeing, increased access to trees and green spaces have been associated with improved attention and cognitive function. This is why tree planting initiatives in local communities such as schools can have a substantial social impact.
“Both books and trees are about nourishment, escape, comfort and growth. The proximity of Earth Day to World Book Day made for a perfect fit for Exclusive Books to honour books and trees in the focus for our month-long retail campaign in April for World Book Month,” says Batya Bricker, Marketing, Loyalty And Procurement – General Manager.
Exclusive Books invites Fanatics and customers to buy any children’s book during World Book Month to help raise funding for the ‘Book Tree Project’. A portion of every sale will go towards donating more books and trees to schools in South Africa. You can also help by planting a tree with FTFA by donating here.
About Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA)
FTFA is a Non-Profit Social Enterprise working towards a healthier, food secure future through developing programmes and initiatives that address climate change and greening, promote natural resource management, organic farming and food security, and sustainable enterprise development. Through FTFA, over 4.7 million trees have been planted, thousands of schools and community gardens have been developed and hundreds of market gardens and farms are supported. FTFA has been in South African Social Development for more than 32 years and is a pioneer within climate change response and food security – www.trees.org.za
About Exclusive Books
Exclusive Books has a rich history – a colourful past of peaceful protest, fascinating stories and a family of staff, all boasting eclectic and wide-ranging knowledge. Exclusive Books opened their first store on King George Street in Johannesburg in 1951 and have since expanded to over 40 stores with one in Botswana, one in Namibia, and one that can only be found in the sky – www.exclusivebooks.co.za