While world leaders are stalled over the climate crisis, Isha’s Project GreenHands (PGH) is enabling school children to take the future in their hands. During August 2010, PGH in collaboration with the department of education in Tamil Nadu launched the Green School Movement as a pilot program in Erode district.
The project mission is to create “green consciousness” among school children through a mind-set change by involving them in sapling production and plantation. Environmental conservation is delivered as an experience that is deeply imprinted in each child’s mind.
Nearly 1,200 school children from 300 schools joined hands with us for producing 2,000 saplings in every school. Seeds, covers and technical assistance required for producing the saplings were provided by PGH. One NGC (National Green Corps) coordinator plus two students from each school underwent the training program at PGH nursery in Gobichettipalayam. At the end of the training program, children were given 2,000 seeds and covers for raising saplings in their school.
In the last 5 months, school children have been involved in nursery activities starting from sowing seeds, filling pockets, transplantation, watering, weeding, and distribution.
R. Priyanka, a student of Government High School, Pattimaniarampatti shares “My friends and I are members of the NGC club in our school. As per the instructions given during the training program, we filled the pockets with sand, soil, manure and placed the seeds. We continued to water the pockets for 10 days but nothing happened. At that time, we grew scared and started wondering if we made some mistake. But in just 2 days, the seeds started sprouting into tiny seedlings. It was so thrilling - it was like magic! My teacher says we are all magicians. I want to be part of the project next year too and grow more saplings.”
18th January 2012, marked the culmination of the Erode Green School Movement where 600,000 saplings were planted by the school children. The project has given an opportunity for PGH to take the message of environmental conservation to schools in some of the most remote villages in Erode.
E. Anand, Operational Head of Project GreenHands, shares about the upcoming plans for the project: “Through this movement, we have been able to motivate children in Erode and Coimbatore districts to produce nearly 1 million saplings. This is just the start, the scope of the project keeps expanding. We’re looking at taking the project to 10 districts of Tamil Nadu next year and planting 6 million saplings.”
Our thanks to all the students, teachers, government officials and volunteers who made this project a success. We look forward to an even bigger Green School Movement in 2012!