A Driven Sarpanch

Chhavi Rajawat is one of India's most driven sarpanchs ( elected village council heads ) and the first sarpanch with a business management degree in the country.

In a span of 8 years since she got elected, Rajawat has worked to ensure regular supply of drinking water in the village households and has led the construction of more than 40 roads. In a small village of a desert state, toilets have been constructed for all the 950 houses. She also got a soft drink company to invest into cleaning a pond, the only source of drinking water in the village. She is currently helping organize massive educational interventions in the village.

The village of Soda has undergone a radical transformation under her leadership and we would love your help to continue the good work happening in the village.

Chhavi's vision for Soda is to bring in people with different expertise and build a truly integrated inclusive model village. We hope that the Soda model would inspire other villages and people across the country to participate in the rural revolution.

“I didn’t have to think about it much because Soda is where I belong and it needs me. In fact, the villagers broke all barriers of caste, gender and religion to ensure my victory . In Soda, not even one per cent of the voters are from my own caste. They [the villagers] wanted to prove that development is the most important factor for which they can overlook all politically created differences.” she says regarding her transition from corporate sector to social sector.

About the Village Soda

Soda is situated 60 kms (1 hour) from the city of Jaipur. It falls in Tonk district an erstwhile princely state which has now been declared by the government as one of the most resource constrained districts of Rajasthan.

The Tonk district is home to more than 1,211,000 people with an average literacy rate of 61.58% , lower than the national average of 74.04%.

Soda is an ancient village – a “Sainik Gram” – having produced gallantry awarded defense personnel and martyrs – the likes of Brigadier Raghubir Singh who was awarded the Mahaveer Chakra and, given the title Savior of Punjab, during the 1965 Khemkaran sector war. It is also the birth place of Saint Ramcharan Maharaj – the founder of Ram Snehi sect and, of Kuleeshji – the founder of Rajasthan Patrika (most widely read daily newspaper of Rajasthan & accepted as an authentic source of information for Rajasthanis across the world).

Today, Soda is full of young dreamers and doers. They have the right intent and capacity to build better lives for themselves and their communities. All they need is for YOU to amplify their existing intent and capacity.

Slices of Life in Soda

A few slices of daily life in Soda are shown below. To work with us and to help us in our mission, scroll down below!

Ongoing Projects

We have listed some of the many ongoing projects in our village below.

Water Conservation

All ground water available in the village has been declared unsafe even for the purpose of agriculture.The water is saline and naturally contaminated. Rain water thus, is the only source of safer drinking water and irrigation.

For conservation of water, machinery (such as earth-movers) is needed for the work to be effectively and efficiently carried out. Unfortunately, the government schemes prohibit the usage of machinery hence, funds have to be raised independently.

How can you help? You can donate money to our initiatives or help volunteer here.

Education

Transforming the local government schools to better serve the kids of Soda is one of the top focuses of Chhavi's second tenure.

Currently our students face many challenges that impede their ability to achieve a proper education. Students of a wide age range are grouped together in cramped classroom with inadequate teaching staff and school suplies. Curriculum material is outdated and does little to prepare students for job placement after graduation.

How can you help? You can donate money to our initiatives or help volunteer here.

Health And Sanitation

Like many villages, Soda had more cell phones than it had toilets! In the last few years, toilets have been constructed in most houses in the village. Our immediate priorities are to improve the health conditions in the village with a focus on child mortality and building a prenatal program for expecting mothers.

How can you help? You can donate money to our initiatives or help volunteer here.

Reforestation

Owing to “murad” / granular soil, machinery is required to dig pits for reforestation. Deep ditch fencing around forest and pasture land is required to protect the trees from being damaged/eaten by animals.

How can you help? You can donate money to our initiatives or help volunteer here.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you to discuss ways you want to help our work in Soda. Please reach out to villagesoda@gmail.com to discuss ways to donate/contribute.

In The Press

Here are some national and international media companies that have covered our work in Soda. Please click on the logo to see the article!