One million Tree of Peace Campaign (2014-2019)
New Delhi based Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, Honorary Chairperson of the Indian Chapter of the International Congress of Women and the Women’s Federation for World Peace, has conceptualised and spearheaded a campaign of world peace centering around the plantation of trees on 1st June 2014, titled “One Million Tree of Peace Campaign.” Ms. Mitra Chaudhury is the Chairperson of the Global Women’s Peace Network and Board Member of the Women’s Initiative of Peace in South Asia. The campaign’s theme is Tree of Peace. In this campaign, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury has invited the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan to be a knowledge partner. The United Nations has accepted to be a knowledge partner in this unique campaign.
Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury is associated with the United Nations for nearly two decades. She was member of the FAO’s Solution Exchange Program on Food Security; a signatory of the UN’s One Billion Hungry initiative; she spearheaded a gender sensitisation campaign for empowerment of 100 police stations in association with World Bank India’s gender division. She spearheaded a trafficking and AIDS program Promise of Justice in association with UNDP.
With UNIFEM, she organised women’s rights programs, especially in the sector of prevention of trafficking and rehabilitation of victims. With UNHRC, she organised participation of Burmese and Afghan refugees in mainstreaming, rehabilitation and social awareness campaigns. With UNIC, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury organised a large number of initiatives on the occasions of the International Day of Peace, Social Justice, Democracy, AIDS and Women. The UNIC-India associated in publication of a Photography Monograph on Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, titled, “Walk for Justice” and collaborated in Photo exhibitions at the India International Centre, Kerala’s Government’s Travancore House, India Habitat Centre and the ITDC-Ashok Hotel.
Ms. Mitra Chaudhury has travelled across the nations and participated in women’s peace and safety campaigns. She led peace delegations to Nepal, Afghanistan, Geneva, Korea, Taiwan and many other troubled countries. She addressed at the UN Headquarters in New York on Women’s Role in Peace during 52nd session of the CSW. Ms. Mitra Chaudhury participated in the UN Women’s Commission of Women’s Safety sessions at the UN Headquarters in New York and represented the UNHRC in Geneva.
The Tree of Peace campaign is a unique initiative. Under this initiative, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury will participate in a sustained tree plantation drive across the country and the world over a period of five years. The campaign will serve dual purpose: one, to plant trees to boost the green cover and mitigate global warming and second, each tree will signify the concept of peace in family, community, society, nation and the world. In this initiative, the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan has joined hands as a knowledge partner and shall transmit information through social network and web routes across the world.
Under this initiative, the plantation drive has begun on 1st June in New Delhi at the sacred garden of eminent classical artist, Yamini Krishnamurthy and her School of Dance. Lemon and grape fruit trees were planted by Yamini’s students. A delegation will plant trees in Kashmir on 5th June, to commemorate the World Environment Day. The drive will continue in New York and New Haven from 10-24 June and signify the participation of international women at a subtle and humble function at New York on 25th June, to signify the eve of the UN International Day for Prevention of Torture. Ms. Mitra Chaudhury will plant trees in New York University and Yale University and carry a message of peace to international students. It is pertinent to mention that Ms. Mitra Chaudhury is part of an on-going New Delhi-New York Policy Task Force on Homeless, and chair the Indian side in collaboration with activist-educationist Dr. Deborah Padgett of the Silver School of Social Work, New York University.
On 29th June, the campaign aims to spread in 100 villages named “Nirbhoy Gram” (Fearless Village) in Malda district of West Bengal, until 7th July; during this period, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury will observe the Ramadan and participate in tree plantation drives in the international border of Bangladesh in partnership with Border Security Force. The campaign will gain its height as Ms. Mitra Chaudhury will plant a tree in Darjeeling in Nepal Border on 9th July and in Nathu-la in Chinese border on 11th July 2014.
Ms. Mitra Chaudhury is currently spearheading a women’s safety and peace campaign called Nirbhoy Gram and adopted 3000 villages in the Bangladesh border, in Malda district of West Bengal. She has also adopted Masoodpur village of South Delhi and Sadatpur-Katra village of Badaun district within the gambit of the Tree of Peace Campaign. Ms. Mitra Chaudhury is addressed as Nirbhoy Didi (Fearless Sister).
The concept of Tree of Peace is unique. Ms. Mitra Chaudhury said: “Plant a Tree of Love; raise a Tree of Life and Gift a Tree of Peace to your family, community and the Nation.”
Way back, around 15 years ago, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury established an informal network of friends, individuals and organisations to commemorate Sreerupa’s Green Delhi Foundation. The Foundation exists as an informal network. Ms. Mitra Chaudhury participated in United Nations’ One Billion Tree Campaign worldwide; and planted trees at the Shramik Referral Centre for People Living with HIV/AIDS, founded by her, in 2005.The trees were cared by AIDS patients and dying destitute, living at the centre.
Further, she gave shelter to accident victim street dogs at two care centres for AIDS patients and mentally sick women, established by her. She is recipient of the “Jeev Sanrakshan Award,” instituted by a group of environment activists, led by JNU professor Amita Singh.
In the year 1998, Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury led a campaign called Clean Delhi Green Delhi, which was later adopted by the then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as a state wide campaign. This campaign was spearheaded by two popular artists: Humlog fame Nanhe “Abhinav Chaturvedi” and pop singer “ Shivani Kashyap”. Under this campaign, school students were addressed by quiz and green antakshari camps. At the end, prominent citizens, including Mrs. Sheila Dikshit were awarded a Green Crown for advocacy of environmental issues.
In the year 2006, Ms. Mitra Chaudhury conceptualised a unique campaign called SAPLING (Students Advocacy Program Linking Institutes of Learning) in the States of Goa and Karnataka and involved students in a peace and anti-trafficking drive for women’s safety.
It may be recalled that Ms. Mitra Chaudhury was born and brought up in a remote unelectrified village in the foothills of Himalayas. She walked 21 kilometres to reach a school. She was bitten by a snake and attacked by wild elephants while crossing the torrential rain-fed forest areas of Dooars. She worked very hard to assist the widows of animal depredation in the villages of Dooars and cared to give them food, water and medical help. As a child, she published two hand-written newspapers on environment and later appointed as the Associate Editor of the Mountain Despatch at a tender age of 18, a newspaper of the tea gardens; Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury joined the Times of India, Delhi as a Crime and Investigation Journalist.
After Nirbhaya’s brutal rape and murder, she was appointed as the Chairperson of the Special Task Force (Rape, Trafficking and Violence against Women), constituted by the Government of India. She is the recipient of the Indian Government’s “Outstanding Woman Award-2013,” instituted by the National Commission for Women and was Member of the Central Social Welfare Board. She is known for her fearless rescue operations for homeless and crime victims. Many years ago, she pioneered the Rape Crisis Intervention Centre of Delhi Police along with Delhi Police and other social organisations and established a unique framework of justice. She received the “Pioneering Personality Award” by Zee News earlier.
Nirbhoy Gram Link