Born into a life of financial difficulties, Thimmakka has faced all kinds of struggles at quite a tender age. Post her marriage she chose to channel her maternal nurturing by bringing plants to life all along the 4-kilometer-stretch from her village Hulikal to Kudoor. “Unfortunately I could not have children of my own. So I decided that every tree I plant is a child of my own” she says. She raised over 400 banyan trees, the national symbol of shelter and sanctuary. Her mission became the planting and tending of trees wherever she could. Along with her husband, she watered, fenced and fostered each of the 8000 of them, watching them grow from seeds into trees, earning her the name ‘Vriksha Mathe’ meaning ‘Mother of Trees’.
Thimmakka, recipient of the Padma Shri, has found purpose in uplifting the world around her though her resolve and selflessness. Recognition has also followed her in the form of over 50 laurels, including the National Citizen Award in 1965 and the National Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award in 1997 by the government, the CMSB National Award, and the Green India Puraskar. She has also been recognised internationally by the BBC which listed her among the Most Influential & Inspirational Women of the World in 2016. For inspiring many generations through her own little green revolution, and for relentlessly serving the future environment, JFW salutes her with the Excellence in Social Service Award.
” Everyone got a purpose to be born into this world. Mine is to save the nature and nurture it.” Saalumarada Thimmakka