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Inspirational Tuesday: One Million Trees for Ethiopia

March 23, 2010

Gashaw Abdela Tahir, an American citizen, traveled back to his birth country of Ethiopia several years ago and was shocked. He came back to see the land that he once saw as green become degraded and eroded, due to deforestation. Rivers were drying up, temperatures were rising, and people were dying of malaria. The conditions added up to make plant life more difficult to maintain.

So Tahir decided that something had to be done. His goal was to plant a million trees.

He asked the city council for two acres of land to plant. It gave it to him and Tahir started collecting the young people in his neighborhood, just talking to them and telling them what’s possible. He only reached out to a few dozen people at first, but those young people grabbed their friends and family, and before long, there were hundreds.

In the first year, they planted nearly 500,000 seedlings on those two acres of land. With this success, Tahir went back to the government and it granted him 11,000 acres of Ethiopian land. He hired over 450 young people, educated them, and empowered them. Now, they have over one million trees on the land.

“You see, one person can enroll other people,” Tahir says. “Outreach to them for a vision. And he can lead, and other people follow and they can make a difference. You can do a lot. I planted over a million trees, hired over 450 young people, and made a difference in the ecology. That’s what I have done. If one man can do this with collaboration, we can make a huge difference.”

Tahir is a person who is making a difference in the global community.

“My ultimate vision is making Africa green again,” he says. “That inspires me, touches me, and moves me into action.”

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