Here’s the 22-year-old Rajender’s tree garden!
Sharing his life-changing decision to nurture plants, Rajender says, “My village was lush green once upon a time. It’s all gone. The tree saplings, guava and mango, given to me by World Vision India inspired me to cultivate my very own tree garden. I chose to plant more trees in the area and even constructed a well within the compound to water the plants.
“But the true realisation of their importance came to me when I fell sick and craved shade. I was diagnosed with blood cancer. Each day was a battle that I had to fight. Like how my family was beside me and supported me through the recovery process, I also realised that trees need someone to protect them and preserve them. I wanted to do that.
“Having trees in my community is my legacy I want to leave behind. To get better, I need to consume fresh produce, which I get from my fruit trees in the garden.”
Asked whether the thought of giving up his garden had crossed his mind, Rajender says, “Plants are like children. In the initial years, they need all the attention and care you can give, but when they grow up, they take care of you. It is like that with trees too. If you care for them now, they will serve you later.
“Whenever I go for a walk and when I am near the trees, I can feel the cool breeze coming from them. It is my duty to save trees and care for them. I want to see my village be green again.”
Rajender highlights the pertinent issue of water shortages in the village, which hamper the growth of the trees. By adopting painstaking methods, he and his family fetch water and carry it a distance to water the garden.
Elated about his first yield, he says, “This year, we got 250 kg of guava from the garden. This was the first time the pomegranate bore fruit. To improve my blood level, doctors advised me to eat pomegranate. Now, I can eat fresh pomegranates from my farm.”