There is a village in India where the community has a unique tradition of planting 111 trees when a girl is born.
This tradition, which is practiced by members of the Piplantri village in Rajasthan, is breaking barriers on two fronts: environmental change and social change. Too many plants is never a bad thing, so this tradition is, without a doubt, one that benefits the environment. But attaching a positive tradition with the birth of a girl also has social benefits, as India is a country where they value the birth over a boy over the birth of a girl.
According to The Hindu, the tradition started upon the suggestion of the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, to commemorate his daughter who died at a young age. The villagers pool $380 whenever a new girl is born and open an account, the parents donate $180, and make a vow to be good guardians.
“We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name,” says Paliwal.
By practicing this tradition, the villagers have planted close to a quarter million trees in just the past six years. Paliwal shares that roughly 60 girls are born each year—which means the village plants around 6,600 trees a year.
And that’s not all! In order to make sure these trees are preserved and don’t get infested with termites, the village has also planted aloe vera trees surrounding them. The aloe vera trees serve as a form of livelihood for many in the village.
“Gradually, we realized that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market aloevera products like juice, gel, pickle etc,” adds Paliwal.
Photo by McKay Savage