Hansa saves one of India’s last pristine forests

Jan 29, 2020 | Inspiring Stories - South Asia

Hansa Devi is just one woman. One very empowered woman. And because of her and the women she mobilised, one of the last pristine forests of India has been saved from over-development.

Hansa’s journey began five years ago when she attended The Hunger Project-India’s leadership development workshops. Hansa’s goal was to be elected to the local council where she could influence decisions regarding the future of her community in Northern India.

These workshops prepared her for success. Getting elected was an achievement, but what she did next was a feat of true bravery.

The council was petitioned to allow development that would have decimated a large portion of the community’s forest. So, unlike the rest of the council, she refused to sign the request. When she was intimidated, she stood firm. When she received death threats, she mobilised more than 200 women to stand with her to protect the forest. These women knew that the ecosystem the forest provided was more than just a beautiful thing, it was the key resource for their livelihoods.

In the end Hansa won. “We have learned that we don’t have to run away. We will keep standing.” In telling Hansa’s story, Ruchi Yadav, the Senior Program Director for The Hunger Project-India, said, “Hansa is one woman, but in India, we’re now working with 8,000 women like Hansa. And those 8,000 women are impacting 8.8 million people”

The courage Hansa shows every day in fighting for the health of her community is truly inspiring. The Hunger Project is proud to partner with women like Hansa.


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