Jadav “Molai” Payeng (born 1963) is a truly inspirational person. An environmental activist and forestry worker from Jorhat, India, Jadav has become known around the world for planting a forest virtually single-handedly, saving the sandbar from eroding away into the river Brahmaputra. In doing so he has turned a wasteland into a natural paradise, a superb contribution to the world that can inspire us to realize we too can make a difference, provided we work hard and stick to our goals.
He planted the first tree here in 1979, and today the area is larger than New York’s celebrated Central Park. The “Molai Forest”, which covers an area of 1,360 acres (550 hectares), is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinos, deer, rabbits, apes, birds, vultures, and around 100 elephants who visit for six months every year.
Jadav’s success has touched many people. After his achievement had first become known to authorities in 2008 (he never publicized his work), he was awarded India’s fourth highest civic honor. Several documentaries have been made to help spread the word about Payeng’s activity including the 2013 film Forest Man. His story has also been made into a wonderful children’s book called Jadav and the Tree-Place.
Bonus: Jadav "Molai" Payeng’s Mission in His Own Words
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