Never underestimate the power of one single person to make outstanding things happen, especially when that person is Sandhya Chougule from Satara in the State of Maharashtra, India.
The life of Sandhya Chougle is a life of determination. That determination has made a difference.
“Basically,” she says, “I am a farmer. I had a dream from childhood to develop my jungle, and to motivate others to do so.”
Driven by a deep understanding of the vital role of trees, Sandhya began her plantation activity in 1986. Since then, she has to her credit the planting and care of more than 60,000 trees. While she plants, Sandhya helps to create sensitivity and awareness about nature and the environment in the local population.
One of her projects was to transform a three-acre parcel adjacent to the slums in Sadar Bazar (Satara) from a garbage-strewn wasteland to a human-made jungle. Sandhya did this by mobilizing school children, college students, local villagers, and Katkari families.
Sandhya does not reserve her miracles only for the environment. Just as she cares for conservation and nature, Sandhya, also, cares directly for people. She has started schools, helped with sustainable rural development in 11 villages, empowered women to be confident and make decisions, and given them supplementary income sources like goat farming, ranching, and floriculture. She has worked with aborigine groups to develop self-employment opportunities, started water conservation programs, and more. On top of all of that, Sandhya is a poet.
In honor of the 85th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sandhya is joining with the Global Tree Initiative to offer a green gift of 30,000 trees which she has planted.
The Global Tree Initiative salutes and stands in solidarity with Sandhya Chougule.