Interfaith for Natural Resource Management, a URI Cooperation Circle in Cambodia, hosted a very well-attended interfaith mangrove planting community workday for the Vesak holiday. They partnered with local communities and government offices to protect the fragile and ecologically-vital coastal mangrove forests from illegal cutting. The event was organized by CC leader Srey Sotheavy.
They were joined by URI Multiregion Regional Coordinator Frederica Helmiere and URI Director of Cooperation Circle Support, Maria Eugenia Crespo. The visit underscores the interconnectedness of the URI network and the value of belonging to a strong international community. “Everywhere we go, we receive hospitality from our brothers and sisters in URI,” said Regional Coordinator Seoung Sothearwat, who hosted the traveling URI members.
The mangrove planting event brought together 70 Buddhists, Muslims and Christians to plant 500 mangrove trees; a huge benefit to the fragile ecosystem. Frederica Helmiere said she was told in an interfaith panel beforehand, “Protecting nature creates community and builds unity.” Describing what it was like to repair a damaged marsh side-by-side with followers of other religions, she said it was “a beautiful act of interfaith cooperation and environmental restoration.”