When Ethiopian-born Gashaw Tahir returned to his home country from the U.S., where he is a citizen, he saw such environmental degradation that he started a movement that has now put more than one million trees into Ethiopian soil. His Mission: "Making Africa Green again!"
Greenland Development Foundation (GDF) is a non-political, non-religious and no-profit making local. The foundation was established by highly motivated individuals who are highly concerned about the sever land degradation and the alarming poverty situation of people in rural areas. The foundation was established by such commited individuals to contribute towards poverty eradication effort of various stakeholders. to realise its vision, goals and objectives, the founders have established close contact with the comminity members, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Tahir recalls the visit to his home country in a four-minute video: "The land that I know was green and everything was excellent. When I went there, I was shocked because it was gone. The land was degraded and eroded because the mountain area was deforested." Ethiopian-born American citizen Gashaw Tahir traveled back to his homeland several years ago and was shocked at the massive deforestation that had taken place since his departure. Rivers have dried, mountains have been deforested, and rising temperatures due to climate change are making plant life more difficult to maintain. Tahir decided that something had to be done. "My ultimate vision is making Africa green again," he says, "that inspires me, touches me, and moves me into action." He gathered young people from his hometown, only a few dozen at first, but those young people recruited their friends and family until there were hundreds. On only two acres of land, they planted thousands of seedlings. Now, Tahir owns 11,000 acres of Ethiopian land on which his group has planted one million trees. 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. His first move was to ask the local government for two acres of land they gave it to him and to start educating young people about soil erosion and other effects of deforestation, and how to plant trees. By the end of their first year at work, they had planted close to 500,000 seedlings.