Daughters Are Prized In This Indian Village That’s Breaking Down Gender Barriers

by Veronica Santos

The Piplantri village in Rajasthan, India is becoming known for its eco-feminism. Former village leader Shyam Sundar Paliwal launched the practice of honoring newborn female babies by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. The village now abounds with neem, sheesham, mango, amla and other tree varieties. The project was named after Paliwal’s daughter, Kiram Nidhi Yojana, after she passed away at a young age. 

The community is taking action in other ways in order to ensure their daughters have the best life possible. When a girl is born, the villagers collect 21,000 rupees among themselves and the girl’s father pitches in 10,000 rupees, giving her a fixed deposit for 20 years.

Parents sign an affidavit saying that they will give their girls a proper education and that they will not marry her off until she becomes of legal age and the trees have been properly cared for. The community is actively involved in the girls’ growth and livelihood; they collectively care for them by planting aloe vera plants as protection against termites, which has also been a profitable venture for the village in its own right. Currently the villagers have planted about 40,000 trees. Through this collective practice, the village claims that no police cases have been reported in the past 7-8 years.

They say it takes a village; this community is proof.

Image from ibtimes.co.uk

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