Combining faith with saving environment, girl child

August 1st, 2010 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Ajmer, Aug 1 (IANS) Combining faith with a social cause, a twin initiative to save the environment and the girl child was Sunday launched at the revered Dargah Sharif here.
Nanhi Chhann foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which connects the issues of environment and girl child collectively to motherhood, focuses on social sensitisation towards the issue.

“We must decide if our growth and development has only to be based on empirical numbers or we want wholesome development. Protecting both environment and girl child is important if we want to ensure social development,” Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia said while launching the programme.

“Only a mass movement of national magnitude can change the cause to restore nature’s balance,” he said.

Scindia launched the programme, which was first started in Punjab in 2008, along with Minority Affairs and Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

It will involve the Dargah as well as schools and colleges across Rajasthan to spread the word of environment and girl child protection.

“Little girls who grow up to be mothers and trees, which are one of nature’s greatest gifts from mother earth require protection and preservation for the sustenance of life on earth,” Khurshid said.

The national gender ratio is 915 females per 1,000 males. The national forest cover is currently a little more than 21 percent while it should ideally be at least one-third or 33 percent.

“This requires a gigantic plantation drive,” said Nanhi Chhann foundation chairman Harpal Singh.

The unique initiative, which has so far involved both educational and religious institutions across the country, has to its credit distributing over 800,000 saplings.

The religious institutions supporting the programme include Shri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) and Shri Damdama Sahib Gurudwara - two of the holiest places of worship for Sikhs - Delhi’s Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and Sacred Heart Cathedral and Jaipur’s Govind Devji Temple.

“When we talked to the religious leaders, they said their faiths also advocate protection of nature and the girl child. By using the positive power of all faiths, we appeal to all cross-sections of Indian society to help restore nature’s balance,” Singh said.

“It is inspiring to see schools, industry, banks and NGOs coming forward to help the cause,” he added.

The launch was followed by distribution of nearly 1,500 saplings among students from Ajmer’s Mayo College and other schools from the city and neighbouring areas.

“The issue of adverse gender ratio as well as deforestation has become very acute and if not countered can result in unmanageable consequences,” Singh pointed out.

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