To celebrate International Women’s Day I would like to share this inspiring story of our recent trip to India. 

While travelling we had many interactions with local women but one that was most memorable was an afternoon we spent in Piplantri, a small rural Indian village in Rajasthan.

In 2006 the leader of this village started an initiative in memory of his daughter who had recently died.  This village celebrates the birth of a girl by planting 111 trees.  Villagers contribute collectively for every girl and the funds are placed in a trust to be used for education.

Parents must sign an agreement to care for the trees and an affidavit to promise to send the girl to school and to wait until she has reached legal age before pressing her to marry.

To date a quarter million trees have been planted and to keep the termites away, the village has planted 2.5 million aloe vera plants.  The trees bear fruit and the aloe vera plants now allow the women to make aloe-based products to take to markets.

While planting a tree doesn’t automatically erase gender inequality or grant new rights to Indian women, Piplantri is ensuring a better life for the girls and women of the community.  Congratulations Piplantri and thank you for making this world a better place!