As the children walked into the village's first large community library last weekend, it marked the culmination of a three-year long project of rebuilding Rajewadi village, that lies around 50 km from Pune in Satara district. Built at a cost of Rs.15 lakh, the village makeover was planned and executed by Pune-based IT company Cybage Software, which adopted and transformed the hamlet of around 800 residents. The idea to adopt Rajewadi came when Cybage employee Ramesh Bhargude, who hails from the village, expressed the need for better infrastructure and facilities.
The village earlier had poor sanitation and almost no proper toilets. Despite having village schools, there was no library where students could study or refer to books. All this has now changed. The makeover includes better sanitation facilities with 13 public toilets and an underground drainage network; a village library for students with over 300 books and reading material and a kitchen to prepare mid-day meals for children in a clean, hygienic space. To encourage people to take ownership of their village and protect the infrastructure, CybageAsha, the CSR wing, roped in the locals to build the amenities. So, the villagers chipped in either with funds or free-of-cost labour.
As part of the rebuilding, the group also supported the Zilla Parishad School in partnership with the Rajewadi village gram panchayat to construct a proper kitchen for mid-day meals, built a cement water tank, school library, and school compound wall. Besides this, in the past three years, the villagers were provided with health camps and cleanliness drives. "All these years, our men and women were managing without proper toilets and were staying in filthy surroundings. The volunteers not only educated us about the importance of hygiene but also provided proper sanitation facilities," says Sanjay Shedge, the former sarpanch of the village who spearheaded the project.