Shagrha: fruit trees for fruitful lives and a healthy environment
Shagrha is an amazing youth-led environmental initiative spreading a culture of planting fruit trees in streets, schools and public places in order to address issues of hunger, pollution and sustainability and to promote environmental conservation in Egypt and the Middle East. The Founder, Omar Eldeeb, was inspired to start Shagrha when he saw that poor people would come to his street to eat berries from a fruit tree. In just a couple of years, Omar and his team of volunteers have planted over 100,000 fruit trees in Egypt and other countries and inspired more than 8,000 households to transform their balconies and roofs into gardens!
"I am so happy because many international companies have joined the initiative and want me to help make them an environmental programme. Many schools talk to me too. This makes my passion stronger and helps me to continue my journey with the team I have built. I have built a team so that this initiative can continue."
Omar's #KindnessMattersfortheSDGs story:
“Before April 2016 I had never planted a tree before. One day I saw 3 poor people eating fruit from a berry tree opposite my house in Cairo and I thought to myself, people who don’t have money also want to eat well. Why shouldn’t they have good things to eat? So then I asked myself, ‘Why don’t I plant more fruit trees in my street so people can eat fruit for free?’
The next day I planted 10 fruit trees on my street and I wrote to my friends on Facebook asking who wanted to plant fruit trees with me. Many friends wrote back to me and said that they want to. Within two days I had started this initiative and called it Shagrah which means “plant tree” in Arabic.
The government told me that I cannot plant fruit trees in the streets. They said the Law prohibits it. But I had ambition and I had passion to plant fruit trees and spread this culture to all people in my city. The culture of planting fruit trees is not in the minds of many people. Not many people care about planting fruit trees and many people even cut trees down. I don’t know why people cut trees. Maybe they are not aware that trees safeguard the environment? I made several events, planted many trees, gathered many volunteers and spoke to everyone I met about my plans. More and more people joined in. I did more than 300 events in 3 years, almost 7 events every month and many successful things happened. We got prizes from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Youth. I wrote about what I was doing in a monthly children’s magazine.
I did not have the idea to spread this initiative to people in other cities but it spread to several more countries in the Middle East. Now there has been over 100,000 fruit trees planted in Egypt and other countries and more than 8,000 balconies and roofs have been turned into gardens. Many schools and universities have also joined me. In a single 2-day event we planted 500 fruit trees.
When I started I didn’t know the different types of trees or plants. I didn’t know how to irrigate them or to maintain them. But step by step I read books on how to do it and watched many videos on Youtube. I spoke to experts in Agriculture, especially professors in Agriculture faculties. I slowly learnt more about planting and how to take care of plants. Now people want to learn from me. I am so happy that I am able to make something good for humanity.
With my passion I was able to make the Government change this ban and let people plant fruit trees in public places. Many initiatives have come after Shagrah to aid Shagrah to spread this culture. I am so happy because all people love planting trees. All people love the environment. All people love life itself.”
Discover more about Shagrha by visiting the official website - https://www.facebook.com/shagrha/