Improving Pakistan’s environmental future, one tree at a time

31 May 2021

The Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan, in partnership with the National Ismaili Civic Initiative, launched a tree planting drive in 20 Aga Khan Schools across Pakistan. As part of the programme, not only are the students planting trees, they are responsible for looking after the saplings. Student also learn about the importance of taking care of the environment and the dangers of climate change.

Improving Pakistan’s environmental future, one tree at a time
The Diamond Jubilee Model High School, Rahimabad, located in the picturesque Gilgit-Baltistan region, is one of the schools participating in the drive. 

“I have assigned each tree to a student and asked them to adopt the tree” explained Mr. Younus Bahadur, the School Headteacher. As part of this ‘adoption’ process, “the students take responsibility to water the trees daily, bring in fertiliser and make sure that the trees stay healthy.”

Students responded enthusiastically to the campaign, by planting 200 trees, drawing murals, and voluntarily bringing in flowering plants. 

The spirit of the campaign soon spread beyond the school’s students. Sidra Akbar of Grade 10, a lover of plants and botany, explained the dangers of global warming and climate change to her parents. “When I told my parents about global warming and the role trees can play in its mitigation, they were very surprised. The next morning, I saw my mom planting trees in our garden. It was a great moment for me.”

Students at the Diamond Jubilee High School, Nomal, another school in Gilgit-Baltistan, planted 100 trees and plants. The School Headteacher, Mr. Muhammad Amin, expressed pride in his students and faculty and the efforts they had put in. “Our aim was to highlight the role of individuals in preserving nature. We also wanted to invite parents of our students, but COVID-19 stymied our plans,” said Mr. Amin.

To create a sense of ownership amongst the students, teachers allocated small plots of land to each class and a competition was arranged; the grades with the most beautiful presentation of their plots were given prizes. Representing the local community, the President of the Village Education Committee also attended the tree planting day. 

In Chitral, four Aga Khan Schools took part in the campaign, including the junior campus of the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Chitral. As the students were unable to plant trees because of renovations, they brought in flowering pots from home instead to place around the campus. 

The Aga Khan School, Chapali in Chitral, used the occasion to engage the local community and held the event on a Sunday. “Our students participated in huge numbers. The biology teachers did an exceptional job in educating everyone present about the seriousness of climate change,” said Mr. Javeed Ahmad, the School Headteacher, expecting similar events to take place in the future. 

The successful tree planting drive in the Aga Khan Schools across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral has made a significant impact on young students and community members, not only raising awareness about the ramifications of global warming and climate change, but also showing the role that individuals and communities can play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Photos (top to bottom):

- 20 Aga Khan Schools across Pakistan participated in the tree planting drive, including the Diamond Jubilee Model High School, Rahimabad (pictured) where students planted 200 trees.

- Students learnt about climate change and the importance of taking care of the environment, in addition to planting trees. At the Diamond Jubilee High School, Nomal (pictured) students planted 100 trees and plants.