Stories of our teachers: planting trees (DD Zvíkovské Podhradí)



Within the framework of C4C´s Springboard to Life initiative we can find a number of incredibly dedicated men and women who come to the orphanages and help the children there, or make their days more enjoyable through after-school clubs or tutoring. They often share their experiences with us, so the idea was born of writing some of these touching stories down and publishing them on our website.

Well, here is the first one, as told by Jana Štěrbová, who visits kids from the children’s home in Zvíkovské podhradí.  Enjoy the read.

The idea of planting trees was preceded by an incident during a walk in the forest. One mischievous boy just pulled a tiny tree out of the way. Me and aunt Zdeňka wanted to know: “Why did you do that?” The boy didn’t see the problem: “The tractors will run over it anyway, it doesn’t matter.”

And so they all started talking about how the tree had its chance, and now it had lost it. They talked together about how every tree, big and small, has a soul (energy, elf, whatever you want to call it). Like a person. Some are born and die soon, and others live to be a hundred years old. And just out of this conversation, the idea of planting trees and going to nurture them as long as it takes, and then maybe in 30 or 50 years come back to see them, raised…

Ideas come easily and quickly, as you can see, but the implementation is usually worse. Who’s going to organize it? What permissions and space will be needed? Because behind every little thing there is a whole series of stamps from the authorities or signatures of important people. These are mostly facts that make it difficult to get good ideas off the ground. Stop painting air-locks and start making a daily effort. But I am like a pit bull – I don´t give up on good ideas. And so me and Zdeňka took the first steps to make our dream come true – for every child in the orphanage to plant a tree of their own and watch it grow for years. This would require “a space of their own” with a fence where the children would plant their own tree with their name on it, and they would come to take care of it during their stay in the institution. Maybe they could add the name of a partisan or local resident who was shot in WWII …. Well, the ideas would be there – now to push it through and get it done!

We started to take the first steps to get the space. But the pandemic came. STOP. Everything was different, the world stopped. Lovely charity projects probably had to wait first, there were more important things to deal with than dreams. And even now, as the world alternately opens and closes, seemingly more important issues are being addressed. Planting trees for a children’s home is still waiting and dreaming ….

It would be nice if children had their own trees and cared for them. They would see them grow, and when they are adults or old, they could come and look at their tree and tell their grandchildren, “I planted this oak or maple tree and it is now a big tree. When you are old, that tree will be huge and you will be proud of your grandfather or grandmother.”

Children are receptive to this and have feeling and imagination. It will arouse in them dreaming and wanting, joy and creative powers. Games, television and overly perfect toys take all that away from them. They get it all in ready-made form. What good is imagination then? Your own ideas? But that’s what makes children children and human sentient beings. We need to meet in the forest. In their forest!

Jana and Zdeňka are taking the next steps. So far, they are at the very beginning of their journey to the forest of the children’s home. A forest where every tree has a real boy and girl’s name. And they in turn have someone to learn to care for and enjoy growing up.

Can they make it? We believe in them!

You can help them do it too! By supporting Chance 4 Children regularly, you will help keep our activities going, which are extremely important to the children in the orphanages.

Thank you!

Author: Zuzana Šrámková, Jana Štěrbová