Instead of buying expensive gifts, gift a plant to a child

Advancement in information & technology has boosted the pace of development but it has also taken away the very basic nature of human being. Children and youth have become the biggest target of consumerism in terms of technology, gadgets, and products.

However, Gorajan Village under Jorhat District in Assam set a trend that was unique and inspirational. This transformation was made possible by FARM Northeast programme by reversing the environmental degradation with the help of children.

Prabal Sen, Caritas India State Officer during his visit to Seva Kendra Dibrugarh (SKD) partner during October 2017 suggested inculcating a habit of parents gifting saplings instead of the expensive gift to sow the seeds of environment conservation, especially among children. The emotions attached to plants would strengthen or nurture the idea of environment conservation among children.

The SKD team took over from there and motivated the community, especially the parents of children to gift saplings on their children’s birthdays. “We tried to make the community to see the reason as to why they should gift saplings, preferably of a fruit-bearing tree to their children”, says Vincent Xalxo, Coordinator. The FARM team having maintained a close contact with the community in the project villages were often invited to birthday parties and these invitations gave them the right opportunity to promote their cause.

Motivated with the initiative, Mr & Mrs Augustine Bhengra gifted a litchi sapling to her daughter Mousumi on her eleventh birthday. “This was made possible due to the motivated families who used our idea of planting a sapling on special events of the family”, says Animator, Christopher Francis.

FARM team further motivated Mousumi to take care of her little plant and today Mousumi not only waters her plant and protects it but also wouldn’t allow anyone even to touch it. She is so connected with the plant that it has become a part of her family. “My cute little litchi plant is my world and I can’t wait to see it bearing fruits and that’s why I water it every day and take care of it too”, says a beaming Mousumi to the FARM team when they visited her last.

“The initiative started bearing fruits as two more families from other project villages planted saplings of orange and litchi on their child’s birthdays”, says Vincent.

The FARM team motivating the community on environment conservation and decided that plantation of even a single tree sapling would be part of the programmes or event that they hold under the FARM project. The latest was Mother’s day that saw child gifting a tree sapling to his Mother and also an inauguration programme of a local poultry farm during the month of May 2018.

FARM team of SKD is trying hard to instill the idea of conservation among the community and such initiatives have helped them to a great extent. The team plans to continue such efforts not only on birthdays but also during weddings and other important in the family. These small-small efforts towards environment conservation at the individual level can help in reversing the impact of climate change. This is perhaps a miniscule tribute towards peoples’ contribution in conserving Mother Nature that would grow bigger in days to come.