While in some parts of India, many expectant parents still say they’d prefer bearing sons, members of the Piplantri village, in the western state of Rajasthan, are breaking this trend by celebrating the birth of each baby girl in way that benefits everyone. For every female child that’s born, the community gathers to plant 111 fruit trees in her honor in the village common.
This unique tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honor of his daughter who had passed away at a young age.
But planting trees is only one way that the community is ensuring a brighter future for their daughters. According to a report in The Hindu, villagers also pool together around $380 dollars for every new baby girl and deposited in an account for her. The girl’s parents are required to contribute $180, and to make a pledge to be considerate guardians.
“We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name,” says Paliwal.
Over the last six years alone, as population there has increased, villagers in Piplantri have planted nearly a quarter million trees — a welcoming forest for the community’s youngest members, offering a bit of shade for their brighter future.