This 49-Year-Old Telangana Woman Planted Over 20 Lakh Trees, Receives UNESCO Award
While the world governments are busy cutting trees in the name of development a 49-year-old woman from Telangana has planted over 20 lakh saplings on barren unused or neglected lands.
Chikapalli Anasuyamma, a resident of Pastapur village in Telangana’s Sangareddy district, has helped to set up two dozen forests across 22 villages in the district. She works with other Dalit women to turn wastelands into neighbourhood forests.
For her initiative of preserving the endangered forest area near Zaheerabad in Sadareddy district, she was conferred with UNESCO award in New York on September 24, 2019.
Anasuyamma, is one of the oldest members of Deccan Development Society (DDS), a grassroots organisation which is turning wastelands into the forest. The society in July this year won the prestigious UN Equator prize 2019 for creating “an outstanding example of a local, nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development,” reported Down To Earth.
How Did Her Journey To Save Environment Start?
When Anasuyamma was in her mid-20s, her husband left her. Earning a living was difficult for her as she had never gone to school. However, bound by the circumstances and need of money to look after her son, she took up menial jobs. A few days later, she was introduced to DDS through a neighbour. “I decided to take charge of my life and took training to grow plants from DDS,” said Anasuyamma.
She worked in the morning and attended the DDS workshop in the evening. She believes that the success rate of survival of plants is 80 per cent.
The most memorable initiative was at Indoor village which got submerged in 1990 due to the Singoor dam project. The Dalits in the village who did not own any land suffered the most. Anasuyamma travelled to the village and convinced the Dalits to reclaim a nearby hillock.
It was one of the 49 villages that got submerged in 1990 due to the Singoor dam project, set up to divert water to Hyderabad.
Anasuyamma travelled to the village and convinced the Dalits that reclaiming a nearby hillock can provide them sustenance. Soon she started training 40 Dalit women from the village to develop a neighbourhood forest in the 28 hillock.
As of now, the 49-year-old has planted trees across 1200 acres of land. She is also training women across villages to develop nurseries.