The Revive! Project™ was started in 2009 in six villages in the Jodhpur District of Rajasthan, India. These villages depend on the cultivation of the Senna plant (used in our Smooth Move® tea) for their livelihood. To date, Traditional Medicinals® has invested over $1,000,000 into the Revive! Project. Yet, unlike charity, we view these investments in supplier communities as a forward thinking social business strategy.
To accomplish this goal, the Revive! Project partnered with a Rajasthan-based NGO, Gravis, and a Sonoma County-based NGO, Womenserve, to implement many initiatives, including: community organization & development, medical support, water & food security, education for children, economic development, and women’s empowerment.
A key to success: Gender Equality and Empowerment
Due to gender inequality and son preference, young women are often forced into child marriages and their families subjected to financially devastating dowries which encourage female infanticide. Perceived as having little value from birth, many girls are often underfed and malnourished. With an acute shortage of water, girls and women are subjugated to manual labor, carrying 25 pounds of water many miles a day in temperatures exceeding 120 degrees. In addition, girls are often prohibited from attending school, resulting in an 85% female illiteracy rate in the region. Refusing to accept such conditions, the Revive! Project proves that the desert’s greatest underdeveloped natural resources are its girls and women.
Women’s Empowerment & Economic Development
Village women are the colorful thread that weaves together the fabric of the Revive! Project. Self Help Groups (SHGs), with hundreds of active members, have been provided leadership and vocational trainings. Benefiting from the value of cooperative saving and banking, the SHGs are receiving financial grants to fund individual and small group loans to develop income-generating activities. These enterprises include village stores, flower mills, tailoring services, spice shops and animal husbandry projects.
Community Organization & Development
Village Development Committees (VDCs) have been organized in the Revive! Project villages and are involved in the planning and implementation of leadership & organizational trainings and the maintenance of the Revive! Project’s community assets. In a culture where females have been silent, village women now have a strong voice in their communities!
Education for Children
Through the Revive! Project, three primary schools have already been built, and three additional schools are under construction. As a result, hundreds of children – many female – are now receiving an education. Students eager for advancement at distant regional secondary schools are aided through Revive! Project bicycle scholarships.
Employing female teachers for the first time ever in these villages, the Revive! Project school training program has been expanded to include middle grade curriculum and computer literacy. Laptop computers are being provided to teachers with both classroom teaching software and programs that children can use as their introduction to computer science. Additionally, each school is provided with a small library of books.
Water Security and Food Security
With a focus on rain water harvesting and storage, hundreds of individual underground family water tanks (taankas), and agricultural catchments (khadins) have been constructed in Revive! Project villages. Additionally, large community ponds (naadis) have been restored. With access to village naadis to refill their taankas, women and girls no longer have to carry water in the hot sun all day, allowing them time to attend school or trainings.
Revive! Project food security initiatives include the planting of hundreds of family gardens and village pastures. In support of village livestock productivity, mobile veterinary camps have been developed and stud bull centers established to improve milk cow genetics and to reinvigorate cow milk production. And to improve nutrition for village children, healthy hot lunches are prepared and served at all Revive! Project schools.
Thousands of villagers have benefited from the Revive! Project mobile medical camps. For example, cataract blindness is prevalent in the desert due to the intense sun, wind, and sand dust. With Revive! Project funding, hundreds of villagers have received restorative eyesight surgeries at the regional Gravis Hospital.
Now in its sixth year, Revive! Project is improving the lives of over 12,000 people and proving that organic agriculture combined with social business values can change the world!