|Bereaved families contributing to tree planting|
|Friday, 13 July 2012 07:12|
WHILE death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a human being, many religions take death as marking the transition into spiritual life. But in order to ensure that memories of the departed are forever etched in the hearts and minds of those left behind, Nyaradzo Funeral Services started a programme whereby the bereaved families are given a tree to plant in memory of their dear departed.
The results have been amazing: A total of 10 000 trees have so far been planted.
The project is part of Nyaradzo's contribution to current efforts meant to stem the wanton destruction of trees in Zimbabwe, which has contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming.
Zimbabwe is losing 330 000 hectares of trees every year with estimates suggesting that the country may be transformed into a desert in 52 years if nothing is done to reverse this trend.
A hectare holds 1,600 trees and when one multiplies the number of trees per hectare with the land size, deforestation is taking place at the rate of 528 million trees per year.
Nyaradzo group chief executive officer, Mr Phillip Mataranyika, said trees were an integral part of life, giving human beings and other living organisms air to breathe.
"We give a tree to every bereaved family we provide service to so that they can plant the tree in memory of their loved ones. About 10,000 trees have been planted so far," he said.
In order to raise awareness on the dangers of cutting down trees, Nyaradzo also recorded a musical Compact Disk (Miti Hupenyu) together with urban grooves outfit, Extra Large.
Through the Friends of The Environment (FOTE) initiative, Nyaradzo is one of the corporates targeting to plant 500 million trees by the year 2025. Between 2010 and last year, FOTE planted more than 14,000 trees between Gweru and Harare and Harare and Mutare.
"I challenge everyone to plant trees. If we do not do it now nobody will do it for us," he told guests who attended the official opening of Nyaradzo's eighth branch in Zvishavane on June 30, 2012.
Commenting on Nyaradzo's business model, Mr Munyaradzi Hwengwere, the general manager of the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, said it was refreshing to see a Zimbabwean company with a strong value system rooted in the country's traditions.
"Everything they (Nyaradzo) do reflects our value system as a country, from their programmes, the team behind the business to the branding. Many times these values are set aside as companies import other values which are not ours. To me, Nyaradzo are a Buy Zimbabwe champion," said Hwengwere.
Buy Zimbabwe is a campaign that seeks to unlock the country's full potential through aggressive promotion of the production and consumption of local goods and services on the local and international market.
The Deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade, Mr Mike Bimha, while challenging Zimbabweans to emulate Nyaradzo by planting more trees, said the domestic market would always have an appetite for products that meet consumer expectations. The challenge, according to Mr Bimha, is therefore for the locals to produce products and services that can compete locally and internationally.
"Nyaradzo has demonstrated what local people can do," he said with reference to the novel products pioneered by the company.
Apart from their role in tree planting, Nyaradzo were the first to offer buses for mourners, cognisant of the fact that Africans want to be together in times of bereavement.
They also provide some trinkets such as water pales, pots, plates, aprons and wrappers, food items, etc to assist the women who invariably are required to cook, collect water and firewood.
The company also provides reed mats which are customarily placed inside the grave, generators where there is no electricity and even water tanks when needed. The company also has tombstones.
Nyaradzo Group has been in business for more than a decade.
Their operations are through four strategic business units which are Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance Company, specialists in the provision of a diverse range of funeral assurance products for both individuals and groups; Nyaradzo Funeral Services, providing a full range of funeral services, mortuary services, hearses, buses and others; Nyaradzo Manufacturing, trading as Calundike Exports, manufacturers of high quality coffins and caskets; and Eureka Insurance Brokers, an insurance broking company distributing life, pension and general insurance products for both individuals and corporates.
The group now has branches in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Chiredzi, Redcliff, Zvishavane, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Rusape, Chinhoyi and Nyanga.