Suryamani Bhagat, Forest Activist
‘Education not only helps you to create your own employment, it can also help millions of people to begin to understand their environment and what we need to do to live peacefully with nature.’
Suryamani Bhagat is an activist with ‘Save the forests of Jharkhand movement’; she is the founder of ‘Torang’ a tribal rights and cultural center in Kotari Village, Ranchi district in Jharkhand. Suryamani works to save the forest where she lives and preserve her tribal culture with her community. When Suryamani was young, her father lost his job and Suryamani had to drop out of school – during this difficult time her family did not have enough to eat but they found a friend in a kind, shop-keeper in her village that helped them with food without expecting anything in return. When Suryamani went back to school, she realized that she loved to learn about the forests and also remembering the kind man in her community – decided to work to preserve the forests and their community’s culture. Suryamani has a BA in Sanskrit and she is 26 years old.