Updated: May 11, 2018
This week we will be talking about a beautiful tradition from the village Piplantri in Rajasthan, India. Historically, young girls in India were seen as a financial burden and were usually married off very young. Once the village leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal started the tradition of planting 111 trees in honor of his daughter, who died very young. Though he is no longer the leader of the village, the tradition has continued on and now the birth of female children is celebrated by the planting of 111 trees in her honor.
To combat centuries of stigma against raising female children, the community also takes many steps together to ensure that the girl is raised fairly and given the same opportunities as the boys in the community. When a girl is born, the village bands together to set up a “trust” for her. The girl’s parents are expected to contribute ⅓ of the sum (around $500), and the money is set up to be a 20-year fund for the girl, ensuring that she is never seen as a financial burden for her parents. Parents must sign a legal document saying that the girl is not to be married before age 18, must receive a proper education, and the 111 trees planted in her honor must be taken care of.
We are so touched by the idea of this tradition of honoring females in the village, as well as combating the years of structural violence and oppression against females in this culture. We encourage you to read more about this tradition through the link below and talk to your powergirls about cultural differences, female opportunity, and community support!