By Charles K Mark.
Student’s Union of Greater Equatoria at University of Juba has embarked on a tree-planting campaign to raise awareness about environmental protection as a way to curb climate change.
During a tour dubbed “cultural tour”, the students’ body said the practice served as a signal reminder for the young generation that trees were the traditional centers for both formal and informal education.
The group had their planting exercise at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Terekeka County, where they were warmly welcomed by the school administration.
Former guild president of Upper Nile University and patron of the cultural tour, Emmanuel Lodu Kosse said that elders used to resolve matters such as marriages and other important community concerns under the trees.
He reminded that South Sudan, and the world at large, is experiencing steadfast climate changes, a catastrophe which likely will destroy Mother Nature.
“There is a need for young people to collectively get involved in efforts aimed at environmental protection,” Lodu said.
He added that besides serving as shade for education, resolving issues and providing food, trees in modern society also serve as a source of income, which can support the children’s education.
Michael Gale, a teacher and school officer at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, welcomed the initiative after he saw that some of the students were former pupils at the very school.
Gale said that exercise would not only benefit the school but Terekeka as a county, and he encouraged parents to use such motivation to take their children to school.
“My message to the parents is to let them bring their children to school. Because if you don’t release your child to school, it means you will remain poor because school is wealth,” said Gale.
Greater Equatoria Students Cultural Association Chairperson at the University of Juba, Aggrey Duku Arkangelo explained that the tree planting campaign was an obligation to extend knowledge.
He added that it is the duty of the students to send and extend messages of peace and unity to various communities through such platforms.
“We have decided to also come and visit and interact with the young people and also exchange academic and instrumental knowledge that can help the young people decide to go back to their academic lives,” Duku said.
The chair explained that the union joined hands with some students from the universities of Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile in support of South Sudan’s fight against climate change.
“I know the country needs transformation; the country needs knowledge about how we can protect the environment. And we have just started this campaign to also inform those in the rural area that protecting the environment means protecting the nation,” Duku told this outlet.
The union leader encouraged his colleagues and young people to keep their hope alive because education will transform their current situation.
“Education will give them a brighter future. And we hope when we stick to the objective of making things possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, Isabella Likiya Michael Wani, a student at the School of Business and Management, Department of Public Administration, who is the deputy chairperson of the union, appreciated the involvement of women in such events.
“Today, if you see the number of men and women here, we are almost 50, if I’m not mistaken. Yes. That means women are coming up. We shouldn’t have to go back anymore,” Likiya said.
She insisted that women shouldn’t be left behind.
“I know women sometimes; we are so shy. I’m very sure of that. But sometimes we should also at least push those who are willing, and then those who have been pushed can push the rest,” the deputy chairperson emphasized.