Archive for the ‘Countries’ Category

Lunch guests at Trees for Life

February 28, 2012

Rema Venkatasubban, Treva Mathur (Office Coordinator),
Anju Bhargava and David Kimble (Executive Director)

The Trees for Life staff joins together daily for lunch, often with visitors who have come to learn more about the organization. It is a time of exchanging who we  are and to connect with our guests, who come from near and far.

In mid February our guests were Ms. Rema Venkatasubban, Wichita, KS and Anju Bhargava, Livingston, NJ. Rema is the chair locally, and Anju is the founder of the Hindu American Seva (Service) Charities. This organization was an outgrowth of the initiative by the Clinton administration to promote service among faith-based groups in the US. The mission of HASC is to develop a Hindu-American identity and strengthen community building to address their needs and those in their communities.

Anju Bhargava was appointed as a Member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partners Office of the White House on April 4th, 2009 and thereafter formed the current Hindu American Seva Charities organization. It operates independently and without funding from any government agency.

Rema and Anju told their personal stories of their journey to service. It is a passion for both of them which is enabling them to continue to spread the message of service (Seva) to the Indian community in America.

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March 11, 2011


First United Methodist Mission Group

David Kimble, Executive Director, Trees for Life with Bonnie Laycock (center) Director of Missions and Outreach, First United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, and committee members Carolyn Vosberg (l) Lisa Guinn, Trudee Little, and Peggy Brant (r).

Bonnie and members of the Missions group were visiting TFL to tell of their experience in building three stoves in a rural village in Guatemala. They used the building plans that were provided by Trees for Life. Following a philosophy of participation and partnership the Mission group from the First United Methodist Church plans on returning to Guatemala to assist in building additional stoves. The selected families will raise their portion of the funds with the mission program providing the remaining funding. To assist the local community the stoves are constructed using local labor and materials.


Open Cooking Stove

  The new stoves are such an improvement over the open fires of the past. No need to worry about the children falling into the fire and the house is no longer filled with smoke. In homes using traditional open cooking fires the incidence of severe respiratory illness, especially among women, the main cooks, is very high and a major health concern. It takes only 3 to 4 sticks of wood to cook a meal instead of 12 to 15. Following are the basic construction steps used in construction of the highly efficient stove.

Steps in Stove Building






Trees for Life – The Dream Continues

November 6, 2010

In 1983 while flying over the island of Cyprus, Balbir Mathur had a vision. The result of that vision is Trees for Life International . Today, after 27 years, Trees for Life has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Balbir’s vision of serving the poorest of the poor is simple: the elimination of hunger and the improvement of peoples’ lives is through education. Balbir often states, “We are partners who empower, not saviors”.

One of the present educational projects of  Books for Life,  the educational component of Trees for Life, is demonstrated in the video Ready to Fly. This video highlights the commitment of Books for Life to partner with local communities in developing 200 libraries in Nicaragua. the first 51 of which are now operational. The Second annual Library Conference held in Managua, Nicaragua on October 7, 2010 was highlighted by Balbir’s pledge to partner in providing 1,000,000 books to the children of Nicaragua over the next 10 years.  This conference and Books for Life’s commitment to partner in building the libraries comes from a connection of the heart and is a promise of education for the children.  We don’t just partner in building libraries, we partner in building lives and in doing so we build foundations for the future.

You can make a donation and learn more about Trees for Life International at

A Gift of Cookstoves to Jalapa, Guatemala

June 16, 2009
Eric Woratschka of Springfield, IL, met Tom Benevento, former Trees for Life volunteer, in Guatemala in 2007 while on a sister church mission trip. Tom, over the last 10 years, has facilitated the building of fuel-efficient cookstoves in Guatemala. Eric saw how these cookstoves, by providing a smoke-free and safer method of cooking, improved the health of women and children. The stoves also use less fuel, resulting in fewer trees being cut down.

Eric wanted to help the families at his sister church, in the Jalapa district of southeastern Guatemala, build these stoves. So when he returned to the United States, he shared this story with friends.

Now, with resources provided by Eric and Trees for Life, Tom Benevento is working with Padre Maxamiliano, coordinator of the Jalapa project, training villagers on constructing cookstoves in Jalapa.


 Give the gift of a cookstove.