A young eco-warrior to watch

With twenty-eight fruit forests and many more in the offing, nine-year-old Prasiddhi Singh is collaborating with various groups to create a greener planet

With twenty-eight fruit forests and many more in the offing, nine-year-old Prasiddhi Singh is collaborating with various groups to create a greener planet

Nine-year-old Prasiddhi Singh has just finished a podcast interview and is all tasked with talking to this reporter on a day off from school. His schedule is busy: moderating an online undergraduate internship, visiting a park in Maraimallai Nagar that hosted new saplings, and a few meetings.

Prasiddhi is a climate champion, and that seems to precede everything else in her life.

“I have an unconditional connection with the trees, the bees and the seas – the trees have taught me never to give up, the bees have taught me to collaborate and the seas have taught me to celebrate”, launches the speaker TEDx which recently won the 2022 Diana Prize.

Cyclone Vardha pushed Prasiddhi to do something. Saddened that the weather system stole much of the greenery from her campus, Mahindra World City, especially her favorite hangouts, she began participating in several community campaigns aimed at restoring the green cover.

“I volunteered for two years and learned the ropes that way,” she says.

In 2018, at the age of six, she created the Prasiddhi Foundation which has the mission of planting trees and raising awareness. Its current target is to plant a lakh of saplings by the end of the year (at last count it was 46,000). To this end, Prasiddhi and an army of volunteers collaborate with institutions, businesses and citizen groups.

“I’m going to Mumbai because we have collaborated with an organization to plant trees,” says Prasiddhi, who has the title of “youngest fruit forest designer in India” according to the India Book of Records.

Prasiddhi finds reliable people at each planting site who send him updates on the greening exercise.

Plants usually come from a nursery run by the Foundation (she was also instrumental in starting a nursery in her Mahindra World School and community).

What are the lessons learned from these drives? “During my first planting campaign at Annur Public School in Chengulpet, I found that the majority of the trees had dried up within a month. I spoke to the school management and learned that they don’t have a regular water supply,” she says.

Since then, for schools that have infrastructure problems, the Foundation has hired a gardener to maintain the area. Recently, the school had a well dug for water supply. “The money I received from the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar for my contributions to social services was used to fence the land,” says Prasiddhi.

Getting permission from institutions is not really a problem as long as the stakeholders are convinced. “I leave with a clear plan on what I need from them and how the plants will be cared for, so convincing them was not difficult,” she says in a few words of Tamil to make her point. point of view.

Under Prasiddhi’s leadership, the Foundation has so far established 28 fruit forests.

She explains that it is different from Miyawaki Forest and the focus is on native trees.

How does this Class V student manage to oversee a foundation amid the demands of academics? Prasiddhi acknowledges the role of his parents and his core team members. In addition, she is aided by an army of eco-warriors and “galvinizers” who organize events.

Prasiddhi says she is meticulous in everything she does. Her day starts at 6 a.m. where she does school-related jobs and then spends time in her garden. “I do most of my homework at school itself because I have to come home and do my green projects and answer emails,” she says.

Prasiddhi admits that she is different from others her age. “I would roll around in the grass with rocks in my pocket and leaves in my hand, that’s my greatest joy and I think my friends have gotten used to that fact and accepted me for who I am” , she says.

Learn more about her at prasiddhiforest.org/

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