Excerpted with permission from The First Responders, by the Reliance Foundation and the Observer Research Foundation, this article shares the story of Ponna Swapna. The 42-year-old is the Sarpanch of Thimmajiwdi, Telangana has dedicated her life to be of service to her constituents. This excerpt focuses on Swapnas work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.Ponna was born in Domakonda, a village in the southern state of Telangana, to a family of marginal farmers. She got married at 19 to an agriculturist, and soon moved to Thimmajiwadi, a medium-sized village about 141 km from Hyderabad. It was here that her journey to becoming the Sarpanch began. She came across Saakshar Bharat, a nationwide literacy scheme launched in 2009 by the Ministry of Education to promote and 116 strengthen adult learning. The programme's aim was to reach out to those women, especially in the rural areas, who had missed out on the opportunity to access or complete their formal education.Ponna completed class ten, and went to college for one month. At that time, she was thinking of becoming a nurse.