Young and Spirited, these words perfectly fit Hasti Modi, a 22-year-old girl from Bhavnagar, Gujarat. Hasti Modi, a student of Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), made Gujarat proud. She became the only Gujarati-Indian to receive the Diana Award 2022.
Hasti shared her environmentally driven journey with Team VOI. She said, “Ever since childhood, I was always fascinated with the sky, the water, different coloured, trees and everything which was part of nature. In this process, I spotted a gap in a public administrative issue. I figured that the local government was getting funds for planting trees. But, they plant saplings, click selfies and post them everywhere to show that they have planted trees. Later, they forget to nurture the trees. Especially in a state like Gujarat, we shall not leave a tree on its own. It needs nourishment to grow.”
The strong-headed Hasti noticed that it was high time to address the environmental-related issues around her. When Hasti turned 15, she opened her NGO called Ignite. At the first event, I invited Jitu Vaghani, Deven Seth (an industrialist and nature enthusiast), my School Principal and Vice-Principal.
During the event, we discussed topics like cleanliness and aforestation. After the event, Hasti and Deven Seth collaborated for Green city charitable trust based in Bhavnagar to take responsibility for 100% trees they plant.
Hasti was an active member of Seth’s organisation and carried forward the initiatives of planting trees. Everywhere she goes, from the UK to Ahmedabad, she finds the green city model convincing, practical, and feasible.
According to Modi, she has planted more than 500 trees in London. She nurtures them and takes care of them.
The Diana Award is a prestigious honour. No one can apply for it, but one needs a nomination to reach the prize. The incumbent Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex and sons of Diana present the award in the honour of their mother, the Princess of Wales.
About the award, Hasti said, “From the beginning, I have been vocal about my passion. I interned with Global Alliance, a sustainable planet organisation based in New York. They shared my story with the award committee and nominated me. As a recipient, I did not involve with the award procedure. I got to know about it after I received the award.”
Recently, Hasti raised funds for tree planting and nurturing drives in India, UK and France. Earlier, she led a team of 20 university volunteers at a conference on carbon-negative food systems hosted by the ‘Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet’ at ‘COP26’ in Glasgow. She also introduced the Environment Panel to facilitate discussions on Environment on the LIF platform, LSE’s India-centric student-led conference. Hasti Modi has also worked as an active member of the Environmental Club of Ahmedabad University.