A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he know full well he will never sit. -Elton Trueblood
There are two kinds of people in this world. One, who talk and discuss things and the others who do. Janet Yegneswaran, clearly belongs to the latter group. She started the Trees For Free initiative in 2005 in the memory of her late husband, Rajanet Yegneswaran .
That was the time when Bangalore was facing massive tree felling and deforestation in the name of urbanization. There were many protests, rallies and human chain formations shown against the rise of a concrete jungle.
Janet, a landscape artist by profession, having worked for the government knew how futile it was to protest against the government. So, she decided to do something about it and that decision has made all the difference.
She bought some saplings and went door to door asking people if they would want to plant a tree in their land. Many of them agreed but some did not, as they felt trees were a nuisance. For the first two years, only 250 trees per year were planted. But after that, the number gradually increased and till now, as the result of her initiative, about 51,000 trees have been planted which varies from native trees like mangoes, guava, tamarind etc. She has over hundreds of committed volunteers which also include her two granddaughters who help her to raise funds for the initiative , contact organization for CSR activities and help her in planting the trees. They plant on the roadsides, the outskirts, barren land, inside the factory territories, railway stations and many other places.
“I am glad I started it because now, I can see many of our trees fully grown up providing shade and fruits. Some even send me its fruits by courier”, beamed a proud Janet.
When asked about why she started this initiative, she said that in a growing city, the cutting of trees is quite normal. No one is to be blamed for it. But at the same time, a proper balance and ratio is to be maintained between the trees cut and the trees planted. Instead of waiting for someone to do it, she did it.
At first, it was too difficult as no one knew about her organization. Soon, thanks to word of mouth people started noticing and contacting her for the trees to be planted on special occasions like birthdays, anniversary, corporate CSR activities etc.
People who want to plant trees and people who have land available for planting approach her and she will list out the groups and put them up in the forum. The people who want to plant also finance for the trees.
Presently, she does not want to widen this outside Bangalore. She says that even though it’s been ten years, there are lot of places to be covered here itself.
To Know more about the initiative contact: http://treesforfree.org/