The 14 456 paper planes, each containing a message from ordinary South Africans that were dedicated to their future selves, were launched at 15 schools across the province. 

The paper planes that were used in the record-breaking event were made of recycled paper. This recycled paper was subsequently turned into mulch and used as a form of compost for the forest.

These planes were planted over 2 000 square meters of land. This area will, in turn, become a consistent, sustainable source of food for both the orphanage and communities in and around the Northriding rural region. As it stands, the garden will contain 270 trees, 2 818 herb shrubs and 13 550 plants.

The Mother of Peace orphanage has always strived to be as self-sufficient as possible. The orphanage says that it has its own water supply and has recently started farming small animals.

Additionally, Food and Trees for Africa — a development organisation focusing on food security, urban greening and environmental sustainability — have secured the support of small restaurants and cafés in the area. The orphanage will be able to supply them with fruit and vegetables to generate a source of income as they assist the 28 children who stay at Mother of Peace.

The KLM brand has committed to maintaining the garden for the next three years. The staff at Mother of Peace will be trained on how to look after and maintain the garden so that it will continue to be a source of nutrients for both the orphanage and the surrounding community.

“A lot of planning and activity has gone into making this garden a reality,” says Wouter Vermeulen, general manager of Southern African region at Air France-KLM. “Today, we are standing here surrounded by thousands of plants and hundreds of trees, which will soon provide much-needed food security for the orphanage and the surrounding community.”

“This is the culmination of our 100-year birthday celebrations and everything that we have done has been aimed at this moment. The result has definitely exceeded my expectations. Sustainability in all we do is essential for us here at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and this is a perfect example of what can be done with our business and the communities,” concludes Vermeulen.

Founded on 7 October 1919 in The Hague, the Netherlands, KLM is the world’s oldest operating airline still flying under its original name. Since its foundation, the KLM brand has been synonymous with its game-changing approach to innovation, sustainability, diversity, the environment, comfort and customer service — making it an industry leader in the global aviation field.

Besides the ‘Forest of the Future’, KLM says that it is excited to continue its innovative approach to aviation to transform the landscape in the century ahead.

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