Recently, we interacted with Prasiddhi Singh, Founder of Prasiddhi Forest Foundation. For her contributions in the field of social welfare, she was presented with the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar in 2021.
Here are the interview highlights:
1. Can you give us some insights into your family background and your upbringing location?
I come from a middle-class family, and we currently reside together in Mahindra World City, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu. Our family consists of three members – myself, my mom, and my dad, who are both working professionals. I also share a close bond with my Nana and Nani, who live in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. They often visit our home in Tamil Nadu to bless us and provide guidance.
2. What were the main obstacles you encountered while establishing Prasiddhi Forest?
I’ve always viewed challenges as valuable learning opportunities. From the very outset, challenges have been the stepping stones of my journey. For instance, when I began convincing people to support my cause and later, when I faced difficulties in collecting funds for my project, I drew inspiration from nature. Much like how a bee pollinates a flower and the flower provides nectar to the bee, I decided to collaborate with like-minded individuals. I formed an eco-army of a few such individuals, initiated door-to-door seed collection to create my own community nursery, a school nursery, and eventually a proper farmer nursery with 30,000 saplings. Challenges such as fencing and addressing water supply issues in areas frequented by cattle forced me to devise innovative solutions.
3. How do you manage your time juggling school, extracurricular activities, and running a foundation?
Balancing these commitments is undoubtedly challenging. However, I firmly believe that when you have a passionate purpose and a clear target, the boundary between studying and pursuing your passion becomes blurred. With a low attendance rate due to my various projects, I’ve had to plan my time meticulously. I often carry my books when traveling to strengthen my understanding of academic subjects. I’ve also realized that my hands-on experiences help me grasp most of my academic topics.
4. How has your journey evolved throughout the years?
My journey has undergone significant transformation, progressing from being a nature enthusiast to a climate advocate and eventually evolving into an impact leader. What initially began as my love and admiration for nature has now grown into a movement involving over 60,000 impact creators who are part of my journey. Together, we’ve planted 130,000 trees across 78 different locations, involving villagers, farmers, groups, companies, youth, volunteers, and nature enthusiasts.
5. What advice do you have for young individuals who aspire to make a difference but may feel they are too young to take action?
I want to emphasize the potential, imagination, determination, and energy that young people possess. When these qualities are channeled toward a cause, we can create a tremendous impact. If you ever doubt your ability to effect change due to your age, remember the power of a small 4mm seed, capable of growing into a 400ft tall tree. Similarly, though we may be small individually, together, we can bring about significant transformative change and restore our planet. All we need to do is dream big, deeper than the ocean, and act like the interconnected elements of nature—trees, bees, and seas.
6. Can you share a memorable moment or a success story from your journey as an environmentalist?
Every day brings memorable moments with new learnings, experiences, and achievements. Success stories abound in my journey: from witnessing fruits in my forests to students committing to make a difference, from villagers taking pride in tree planting to children offering water to plants. These are all meaningful and impactful success stories because they highlight the collective action required to create a better planet.
7. Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives your foundation is currently involved in that you’d like to discuss?
The Prasiddhi Forest Foundation is actively engaged in multiple projects, including nature-based solutions, community development, water management, waste management, web 3 technology, climate education, and the creation of “green brigades” in schools. One notable initiative is the “green brigade,” where we aim to cover 200 schools and provide each student with a fruit sapling, which they will nurture. Additionally, we plan to plant at least 1 to 10 banyan trees in each school. While our core focus remains tree plantation and environmental awareness, we are working on several other projects to expand our impact.
8. What message would you like to convey to the world regarding the importance of taking care of our planet?
Every action we take holds significance, as the world faces unprecedented challenges, and humanity is at a crossroads. We must choose between an unsustainable trajectory and learning from nature, which offers numerous solutions to the problems we confront. This is our opportunity to protect the planet, because if not now, then when? And if not us, then who?