KYAWE MONE (The Mirror), a national paper in Myanmar carried the following article on 9 March
The following is a translation from Myanmar language (abridged).
Today we are faced with many environmental problems including climate change, extinction of species etc. Biological diversity is being lost, and eco-systems are being destroyed. The world community needs to tackle the crisis. Otherwise, it would worsen day by day.
Tree planting is the most urgently needed task for human beings. The world is losing forests at an alarming speed. So, the Children’s Forest Program (CFP) is now being introduced.
CFP was started in 1991. OISCA, an NGO established in Japan in 1961, initiated this effective environmental education program. CFP is now spreading to 32 countries (*the article was written on the data collected in 2013). Myanmar is one of the countries, and CFP was introduced in Yesagyo Township, Magway in 2001. At present 60 schools in Yesagyo are taking part in this Program.
DOA OISCA Agricultural Training Center was set up in Yesagyo in 1997 and it is a base to promote the OISCA activities including CFP. In CFP children are the main actors. It is an educational program to foster their attitude and awareness. They should concern about Furusato (a Japanese word
meaning “home”) – their own hometowns or home villages where they were born and brought up. They need to protect and rehabilitate their forests and all living beings in their homes. Through CFP children learn about the environment, and the significance of forestation. All village people – teachers, parents and leaders of communities – come together and join in the CFP in their villages, teaching the children with a hope that when their children grow up they will have a natural desire to protect the environment and enrich nature.
DOA OISCA Training Center organized a “Love Furusato Work Camp” in the end of December 2015. Actually this Work Camp is organized every year each time with the participation of 40 schoolchildren from 20 schools from all parts of Yesagyo Township. While playing and having fun, children learn about the environment and the concept of Furusato. They also experience taking care of piglets, quails and chicks.
Furusato is a Japanese word meaning “home.” It, however, connotes broader meanings. It may be equivalent to Myanmar word “Mweyatmyae”. “My Furusato is Pakhangyi, and Pakhangyi belongs to Yesagyo, so Yesagyo is my Furusato. Yesagyo is in Magway, so Magway is also my Furusato. Magway is in Myanmar, so Myanmar is my Furusato. Myanmar is in Asia, so Asia is also my Furusato. Asia is on Mother Earth, so Mother Earth is also my Mweyatmyae.”
Countries such as Japan, Myanmar and China were created by human beings. National boundaries were made by humans. Water, air, soil – all belongs to Furusato. Sakura – cherry blossoms are beautiful in Japan, and it is making Mother Earth beautiful. Himalaya and its clean water is a treasure given by Mother Nature. Panda in China and all living beings on Earth are treasures of Furusato. The great tropical rain forests in Amazon emit oxygen that reaches all human beings, and Amazon is a treasure of Furusato.
Today, the environment of Furusato is being destroyed. We are losing forests, and in the same way numerous life forms. The climate change causes the ice around the North Pole to melt. Human beings are responsible for all these problems. CFP is thus trying to teach children, who should shoulder the future of human society, the importance of protecting Furusato and restoring nature in Furusato. CFP is a useful program. So, we hope that all the teachers in Myanmar will adopt CFP as environmental education program at their schools.