Saturday, September 19, 2009

Planting the seeds of hope

What a wonderful story this is from the BBC! It's about an Indian civil servant, SM Raju, who just led an effort to break the world record for the number of trees planted in one day - but that's really the least of his achievements. He took advantage of an Indian government commitment to guarantee families living below the poverty line 100 days of work a year, and used monies from this program to employ villagers to plant and protect trees. In his state, Bihar, almost half the population is below the poverty line, and on 30 August alone 300,000 of them planted trees that they will tend over the coming years in return for a living wage. SM Raju's initiative not only has environmental and economic benefits, it brings hope to communities that had been hopeless. As a result, fewer people are moving away from the area. And with his success story attracting more attention to the government policy that made it possible, it's quite likely others across the country will seek to replicate it.

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