‘A village in Rajasthan’, the picture that comes to mind is of a dusty and dry village in the middle of a desert. But that’s not the case with Piplantri, a village located in Rajsamnad district of Rajasthan. The endearing village is making a huge difference single-handedly by planting 111 trees every time a girl child is born. Tackling deforestation, creating awareness for female foeticide and providing a livelihood for many villagers of Piplantri, are some of the key aspects of the initiative.
The total population of Piplantri panchayat is 5138. The village is primarily known for its marble mining industry which led to deforestation and land acquisition. Due to waste produced in mining, the village was losing all of its fertile lands, the water in wells dried up and the conditions were poor to tame domestic animals.
Also, Rajasthan state is notorious for killing girl child even before they were born and often the girls are married at a very young age without any formal Education. With these issues in mind, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, former head of the village, decided to take things into his own hands.
In 2006, Mr. Paliwal started a tradition in the village to plant trees every time a girl is born in honor of his daughter who passed away when she was young.
Also, for the financial security of the girl, the villagers contribute 21,000 Rupees and take 10,000 Rupees from the parents and put it in a fixed deposit, which can be broken when she turns 20. In return for this trust, a legal affidavit is signed by the parents that she will only be married after she turns 18 and received a proper education.
It’s a clever move by Mr. Paliwal, not only providing lush greenery in the village but also ensuring safe future for girls. The trees grown in the village are well taken care of, the community ensures the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.
After a decade, the village has planted 3 million trees and turned the once dying village into a breathtaking oasis. The vast land is covered with wide varieties of trees including Neem, Mango, Amla etc. Due to the greens, the water is now easily available at only 3 meters underground compared to the previous 200 meters. Plantation gave professional opportunities to many people, improved families’ condition and allowed the extraction of medicines.
The perception of female figures has changed positively and crime rate also has lowered. Piplantri has taken a high road now. Change doesn’t happen overnight and people in Piplantri have proved it right. According to the government of India, it is estimated that 21 million girls are unwanted. The reasons are numerous, female foeticide, harassment over dowry, sexual molestation, a low literacy rate among females, and gender discrimination are among few.
But here people in Piplantri are thinking way ahead. By growing trees at the time of the birth, they ensure a safer future. By the time the girl grows up to be an adult, the saplings become trees and when the girl marries off she leaves those trees behind. Those trees are tended by people of Piplantri and they earn through it. So the daughter instead of taking away something, leaves something valuable behind.
Today on International Day of Forests, BuzzOnEarth presents to you this well covered yet inspiring story that combines the cause of People, Planet, and Profit together to pave the way to a sustainable future.