Plantation drive organised by RLEK for Van Gujjar Children under the program “Our Environment, Our Development”

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Dehradun, 2 April.

Another one-day “Plantation Drive” under the major program “Our Environment, Our Development” was organized at Bluestar Van Gujjar Junior High School, Mohand, Saharanpur District by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), a Doon based NGO with the support of Sharon Bio-Medicine Ltd., Dehradun.

Padma Shree Avdhash Kaushal, Chairperson Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Project Coordinator Ms. Sonali Sharma, Education Program Coordinator of Van Gujjar Schools Mr. Avdhesh Sharma, and Mr. Manoj Mamgain, Human Resource Manager, Sharon Bio-Medicine Ltd., teachers, and children participated in the drive.

The plantation drive was conducted as part of a unique initiative “Hamara Paryavaran, Hamara Vikas”. During the drive around 100 trees of different varieties such as bel, Cyprus, bottlebrush, neem, apple, guava, peepal, mango, jackfruit, banyan, and lemon were planted. Other varieties which were planted included ornamental and evergreen plants.

An eco-club for the protection and management of trees was formed in Bluestar Van Gujjar Junior High School. A group of Van Gujjar students sang “Hum Van Gujjar jungle ke vaasi, jungle humara ghar hai… Duniya kitni badal gyi hai iski hume khabar hai…jungle humara ghar hai.”The song sung by these children indicated how they consider the forest as their home. But unfortunately, they are feeling that the environment around them is changing. The children also narrated stories and poems related to Mother Nature.

Mr. Avdhesh Sharma, Education Program Coordinator said “This plantation drive is different because every child will be responsible for looking after one tree. We informed them in detail about the environment. The students and their teachers also shared their views on environmental conservation.” Riya, a student from the school informed the participants about the need to protect our environment, especially trees. She said “Trees give us oxygen which is important for the survival of life. We also obtain different products like wood, resin, and fruits. Without them, we cannot survive.”

Padmashri Avdhash Kaushal said “The Van Gujjar tribe is considered a part of nature. Including their children in this drive has been a matter of pride for us.”

Mr. Neeraj, a teacher in Van Gujjar school said “Every morning during assembly time, we will discuss with children about trees and the environment.

We will allot certain children for watering the plants every day. This will also help to build a positive habit in these young children.”

Mr. Manoj Mamgain, HR Manager, Sharon Bio-Medicine Ltd. congratulated the team for their efforts.

It is to be noted that these days climate change has become a major challenge. Considering this, the organization had previously conducted a road transport improvement campaign, a one-day district level seminar on youth and their efforts towards environmental sustainability, a plantation drive at Kandoli, a cleanup community campaign, and capacity building workshops for eco-club members, and information and awareness campaigns in schools.

With this last activity, the one-month-long environmental campaign “Our Environment, Our Development” has been successfully concluded.

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