Jhansi women send strong message on how to protect trees


Jhansi:  If you take to the roads of Bundelkhand, you will be captivated by the lush growth of trees -- and the messages on them: "Don't cut me", "We are your life", "Save me". The idea to help save the trees in this region originated from seven young women of Jhansi who launched an initiative. The young friends set up a women-only association named "JCI Jhansi Goonj" which aims not only to plant trees but also to save the existing ones which often become victims on the road to progress and industrialisation, including widening of roads.  "While trees are planted, nothing is done to preserve them or nurture them," Mamta Dasini, in charge of JCI Jhansi Goonj mentioned. This lack of adequate protection for the trees made the young women launch the awareness programme -- of writing messages so that people feel a sense of belonging towards the trees. JCI or Junior Chamber International is a global non-governmental organisation with head office in St Louis, United States, which has presence in over 100 countries. According to its website, it's an organisation of young, active citizens aged 18 to 40 "who are engaged and committed to creating impact in their communities." The non-profit organisaion was was founded by Henry Giessenbier Jr. "Peace is Possible" is one of its major campaigns, but several local issues are taken up by various groups in different countries. In India, the movement has triggered several groups in many towns, which includes JCI Dana Paani, which focuses on feeding stray animals and birds. The site also says that young people everywhere are encouraged to "find targeted solutions to local issues benefitting our communities, our world and our future."  Dasani says that while in school people read about photosynthesis through which trees make their food with the help of sun and water and give life to humans by generating oxygen. But most people forget this fact after growing up, she says, adding that her movement is aimed at reminding people the fact that trees allow us to breathe. President of the association, Rekha Rathore, said the purpose of the movement was to preserve the greenery of the tree lining along the highways. She said the messages would dissuade people from cutting trees.  The Jhansi association has now grown to 56 members, starting with the initial seven. The movement is drawing the support of many women. The members carry out regular checks on the trees and care for them, and keep the surroundings neat and clean. Scores of trees with such messages are seen all over.  Yogita Agarwal, manager of the association, explains that they take care while writing messages on the trees to ensure the trees are not harmed and no chemical colours are used. The members of the group have also decided to plant a tree each on the birthday of their husbands or children and take care of its growth and nourishment. The group may have a modest beginning, but with international affiliations it's likely to grow fast.