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Twenty sandalwood seedlings were planted in Nukusere village to commemorate the Ship for World Youth Day last Saturday.
The Ship for World Youth Alumni Association Fiji in commemorating Ship for World Youth Day marked the day with the launch of Mini SWY Forest Bank project in Nukusere village in the interior of Namosi.
The mini SWY Forest Bank project hopes to plant sandalwood seedlings which would be worth $1.6 million when fully grown at Nukusere Village.
The village is only accessible by horse and punts as these are the most common mode of transport for the villagers.
The project was launched by the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan Takeshi Tanabe.
The team has developed the first draft of the programme to ensure a sustainable future for the urban forest and the new programme will be undertaken for citizens to take an active role in protecting and enhancing our urban forest for the health of the community.
A small team made up of alumni members made the trip to Nukusere Village last Saturday for the tree planting ceremony.
Receiving the delegation at the village, representative Apisai Delai welcomed them saying that that the village was glad to receive them.
“To the team that has arrived today, we are so glad that you could make it to this auspicious occasion.
“For us it is a happy day at the village, not only the youth but the women and children as well.
“It gives me much pleasure to welcome the Japanese envoy to the village and makes him the first foreign dignitary here.
“There is a saying in the Fijian culture that a man that plants a tree in a certain area, the land is his and with this token we would like to highlight the relationship that will now be forged between this village and the Japanese government.
“It is a day that will go down in history and we hope that this will not be the last time we get to hear from the Japanese government.
“These will no doubt open the doors for us and for the future for this we are grateful to the Japanese government the representatives of the association present here today.
Mr Tanabe said that he was glad to be part of the event.
“It is a pleasure to join you today and mark the launching of the forest bank project and the forging of the youth project here is a happy day.
“I am happy to be here in person and it is my great pleasure to be here on behalf of the ambassador and the government of Japan.
“The programme that the alumni have here in Fiji is enriching and will no doubt lay the platform for future and this will be a great asset for the programme.
“The planting ceremony today will no doubt also be a future for the village and in another 15 to 20 years, the forest will be mature and I hope to be present here in Nukusere to witness that,” he said.
The forest bank project was launched and will be monitored by the Ship for World Youth Alumni Association Fiji.
The plan will provide a way forward for the stewardship of trees in the village.