Planting a tree may not be a big feat to many, but 7-year-old Prasiddhi Singh from Tamil Nadu has planted over 13,000 trees. With her army of eco-warriors, she created 12 fruit forests in the state and is now on a mission to plant 1 lakh trees in the coming years.
Raising funds to plant different trees, from mangoes to guavas, the little forest creator is trying every way to source funds. From selling paper pencils, bookmarks, to crowdfunding and collecting fruit seeds from her neighbours, she has done it all.
Prasiddhi started the mission to plant saplings after witnessing the loss of trees in the 2016 cyclone Vardah,
Prasiddhi Singh says that her vision is to increase the green cover on earth. “I still remember the first time when I grew a chilli plant at my home. I was just 2 years old at that time. And now I am planting trees. In my own house, I have planted many trees in my backyard and even have a herbal garden,” Prasiddhi tells The Better India.
She also says that she was initially teased by her friends as she always loved to be with nature and plant saplings. “My friends said that my hands were dirty with mud. However, they later started to eat the fruits and vegetables from the trees I had planted when I was just three years old – like lemon, tomatoes and red spinach, and their mindset changed. Now, they help me plant trees, make paper pencils and collect funds to plant trees,” she adds.
She says, “At my school I have a small forest of 100 fruit trees. I am also happy to share that these trees were planted on my birthdays. I don’t have a ‘happy birthday’, but I have a green birthday every year.”
Prasiddhi also adds that the reason why she chose to plant seeds is because of the biodiversity. She says, “Biodiversity is a term that represents the total varieties of all life on earth. The more biodiversity, the more secure all life on earth is including us.”
“I don’t know how but I will definitely grow 1 lakh fruit plants in the coming two years. The reason why I choose to grow fruit plants at schools, colleges and public places will give access to healthy and natural fruits to the people. Nowadays we get chemical-filled fruits, but my fruit trees will provide chemical-free fruits to people. I am also ready to go to any place to plant trees, if I am given a place for planting them,” Prasiddhi says.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, she used to go out every Saturday to plant trees, but now the situation isn’t the same. Making the best of what she has, Prasiddhi gives online sessions to children regarding planting saplings, yoga classes and storytelling to raise funds for growing more saplings every Saturday.
She adds, “I feel, more than donations from people, collaboration is more important. People are ready to donate funds, but then they don’t know how to go about planting trees. Collaboration is something which is an ongoing process, and I think that is better for planting trees.”
Prasiddhi, who is also the Youngest Fruit Forest Creator in India by India Book of Records, says that her only request to others is to save water, plant trees and help biodiversity for a better India.
Adding that Prasiddhi also likes to paint, do crafts, sing and dance besides planting saplings, her father, Praveen Singh says, “I won’t restrict my daughter from anything. I have given her the freedom to do what she wants.”
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)