Every culture has its own traditions surrounding the birth of a child. While we celebrate newborn girls by sending pink dresses and dolls, in the village of Piplantri in Rajasthan, India, they celebrate by planting 111 trees.
That’s right, every time a little girl is born in Piplantri, 111 trees are planted in her honor!
The beautiful tradition was started by the village’s former ‘sarpanch’(head) Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who passed away a few years ago. Apart from planting trees, a special committee also identifies families that are reluctant to accept girl children. They then collect Rs. 21,000 ($336) from village residents, and Rs. 10,000 ($160) from the girl’s father – and invest this money in a 20-year government bond to ensure financial security for the child.
And there’s more! “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,” Paliwal said.
In order to ensure that the trees remain free from termite infestations, the residents of Piplantri have also planted over 2.5 million Aloe Vera plants around them. The trees, along with the Aloe Vera plants, have become a major source of livelihood for the villagers.
“Gradually, we realised that Aloe Vera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways,” Paliwal explained. “So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market Aloe Vera products like gel, pickle, etc.”