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  • In a world that seems to generate only bad news it is absolutely refreshing to hear something good.

    A friend told me about this little known village in Rajasthan called Piplantri where the panchayat (village council) has been saving new born girls in a unique way.

    Everytime a girl is born the villagers plant 111 trees. This idea was the brainchild of the former sarpanch (leader) of the village – Shyam Sundar Paliwal. He started this initiative in memory of his daughter who died a few years ago.

    In a lot of Indian households people are reluctant to accept girls, considering them a burden. In the village of Piplantri such households are identified by a committee consisting of the village school principal, along with the panchayat members.

    When a girl child is born, the villagers contribute Rs. 21,000/- and Rs 10,000/- is collected from the child's father. This sum of Rs 31,000/- is then turned into a fixed deposit for the girl with a maturity period of 20 years.

    And it doesn't end there. The parents have to sign an affidavit stating that they will send the child to school regularly, that will not get her married before the legal age.And of course they also have to take care of the trees planted in their daughter's name.

    Shyam Sundar Palival says that on an average about 60 girls are born in the village every year. Over the last six years over a quarter millions trees, (neem,sheesham, mango and amla) have been planted. To prevent termite infestation the villagers planted aloe vera plants around them. Now the trees, as well as the aloe vera is a source of livelihood for the villagers. So it's a win-win situation for all.

    How I wish other states and villagers in india would follow this brand of eco-feminism.

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