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Mumbai orphanage girls to mark 9/11 by planting vegetable garden


Mumbai : Girls from an orphanage in Mahim here are to plant a vegetable garden in honour of the victims of 9/11 terror attacks in New York, the US consulate said in a statement Friday.

Last week, the staff of the US consulate worked with the girls to clear four small plots of land at the Women’s Empowerment Centre and Network (WeCan) orphanage in Mahim.

“Tomorrow (Saturday) they will plant the vegetable seeds of ladyfingers, tomatoes and cucumbers – all selected by the WeCan girls themselves,” the release said here Friday.

“The garden offers a chance to teach urban youth about caring for land and nature, and our staff an opportunity to serve the community in which we live,” Consul General Paul Folmsbee said.

The orphanage, and the girls living there, are thrilled by the prospect of having their own vegetable garden.

“We always wanted a garden for our girls here. The garden has become a lesson in botany and environmental protection as well as a practical class in growing food,” said Miriam Batliwala, a trustee of WeCan.

She appreciated the efforts of the US consulate staff for not only teaching the girls how to prepare the land and plant the seeds, but also how to care for them as they grow.

Earlier this year, US First Lady Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House to help teach Americans the value of home-grown foods which are both nutritious and less polluting than vegetables that are trucked to city markets.

The programme in Mumbai follows a proclamation by President B. Obama Thursday: “I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad.”

In April this year, the Congress approved a law that requested the observance of Sep 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.