Hard Work is the Key to Success

The pandemic and lockdown has shown us a lot of creativity and enterprise emerging from our rural students. Many families, already struggling financially, fell into dire economic circumstances due to unemployment and loss of pay. This is where we have seen stories of grit and courage from so many of our students.

Priyanka, attending online classes, in her little tailoring shop

 Priyanka, a Class 9 student of the RDF – Tech Mahindra Foundation Government High School BahadurapallyPriyanka is a student of IX class from ZPHS Bahadurpally. Her parents are working as daily wage earners in a private company. During lockdown, she learnt how to stitch face masks. In the mornings, she attended her online classes and the rest of her time, she learnt tailoring. As she got adept at making masks and selling them, she was able to pay of the fees for the 3 month tailoring course.

Priyanka, hard at work, making masks & dresses

Now she has become proficient at stitching blouses and dresses too, in addition to masks. She is now considered an expert tailor in her locality, has created an identity for herself and has become popular! We admire her determination and sense of responsibility towards her studies and her family by balancing academics while simultaneously working and earning too!

She says, simply, “Focused hard work is the real key to success.” We know that Priyanka is flying towards a bright future with her great attitude and her courageous spirit!

Fast-tracking through Failure!

Sandeep, with his parents
Studying hard for the NEET entrance exam

We received a very inspiring letter from Sandeep, an RDF VAPV Junior College alumnus. Sandeep’s parents, daily wage labourers, worked hard to put him through school and college. They, along with his teachers always supported his dream of becoming a doctor. He was a college topper, scoring 961/1000. He studied hard, however he didn’t clear his first attempt at the NEET entrance exam. He says, “I learnt many things from this failure. I feel failures give us a better point of view and allow us to make a choice of being dejected or to use it as a stepping stone to success. Failure shows us where we can improve our weaknesses.” Wise words, indeed! This resilient spirit helped him succeed in his second attempt and he got a seat in Bachelor of Dental Surgery. He achieved his goal!

Sandeep, being commended, after clearing the NEET exam

He says, “I believe hard word, perseverance and dedication were the key factors in my success and can help anyone. My parents and teachers always stood beside me to help me achieve my goals. RDF provided me a solid foundation which shaped my mind, setting me in the right direction. I know villagers need good healthcare, so after completing my course, I will hold free dental camps to help rural people.” We really admire Sandeep’s spirit and are proud of his inspiring journey.

Education and Innovation

RDF always encourages creative self expression among the students. Teachers always appreciate thoughts, opinions and ideas from the students, which also helps them to learn beyond their textbooks.

Abhishek’s labour of love – the model farm

Abhishek is a Class 6 student in Kalleda School who is good at academics and is always bursting with ideas about his lessons. His parents are migrant labourers in Maharashtra, so he lives with his grandparents.  Abhishek loves the village ecosystem and has a great interest and concern for the welfare of farms, farmers and farm animals.

Abhishek (in front) with his model farm

He wanted to create a small farm with artificial cattle, but his parents were unable to provide him with money to buy what he needed. Eventually, his brother gave him the money for his project. He immediately set himself to task by making a cattle hut with clay and toddy leaves. He also created a grazing field and a pond with ducks; filling in the tableau with other animals. Abhishek firmly believes that they live because of the help of bulls, cows, buffaloes, goat, sheep, hens and other domestic animals. This was his motivation to create the toy model farm.

Happy with his efforts, he shared pictures on his class WhatsApp group and was appreciated by his teachers and classmates. Self initiated projects like these always create a positive ripple effect with other students feeling inspired to create too!

Parenting with Patience and Love

Life in rural communities can be very challenging. It has always been RDF’s aim to support the local communities our schools run in, through sustained community engagement. Because of this, our schools and the local community have created long lasting trust based relationships.

Hasini, a Class 5 student of Rollakal School, hails from a family where her mother, Anita, is the sole earner as her father is an alcoholic and doesn’t provide any support to the family. Hasini’s father is her mother’s second husband, whom she was forced to marry by her parents, just a few months after her first husband died in a road accident. She had also just given birth to their son, so her mother was left in a very difficult and desperate situation.

Despite all these difficulties, Anita started tailoring from home and is determined to support Hasini and her brother complete their education. It is very humbling to see how hard working Anita is, tailoring day and night, while providing them with a nourishing environment created by her love, care and support unflinchingly. The school is also supporting them through financial sponsorship.

We have the greatest admiration for women like Anita and know that Hasini has a courageous and resilient role model in her mother. Through her mother, she is learning the qualities of resilience, hard work and patience which will help her immensely in her life’s journey.

Supporting our Students

RDF always supports our students in ways that support their learning, dreams and growth.

B. Anusha, a Redlawada School alumnus, has successfully completed her graduate studies, earning a Bachelor of Science degree. A bright and hardworking student since her school days, she now wants to pursue post graduation studies. She visited the school in order to take permission to use the library books to study for the post-graduation entrance test.

Even in school, Anusha loved reading in the library, preparing for quiz contest and essay writing competitions, winning first prize in both. She used the school library everyday during school hours for the entrance exam. We are very happy to report that her efforts have borne fruit and she got 70/100, a result she’s happy with too.

We wish Anusha the very best for her career and her future.

Ramesh’s Rising

The fruits of hard work and determination are seen by us on a regular basis in our rural communities. Driven by a desire to lead a better life and help their families, many of our students go to extraordinary lengths to achieve their goals.

Ramavath Ramesh, an alumnus of Kalleda School, has been assisting his parents, working in farms, since he was in Class 3, in order to add to his family’s meager income. In Class 5, his father had an accident; hence he couldn’t work and stopped sending Ramesh to school. However,  Ramesh appealed to him to allow him to continue his education, while simultaneously working in his spare time. The school supported this and convinced his father too. When the school learnt of the family’s dire financial difficulties and inability to pay fees, they also decided to sponsor his education till Class 10.

While in school, his attendance was 50% to 60% and his academic performance was 80% to 90%, showing his fortitude to accomplish his goals. During Intermediate studies, he worked full time during vacations to pay for his education, while preparing for engineering entrance exams! His efforts paid off when he cracked the JEE and got admission in Mizoram’s National Institute of Technology.

We are full of admiration for Ramesh’s strength of mind and strong character. He’s an inspiration to everyone around him!

Educate and Engage to Empower

The pandemic has allowed us to witness many important changes in the rural families we serve. Jayasri, Lokesh, Jaswanth and Bhanu are Class 8 students in Matendla School. With the schools being shut since March 2020, these children attend online classes in the morning, then complete their home assignments. After completing their home work, these children then help their parents in their respective work.

The pandemic took an economic toll on rural families, with many facing unemployment or loss of income. We were amazed to see how these young children shouldered responsibility in these tough times to help their families. Jayasri plucks cotton, Lokesh irrigates vegetable crops, Jashwanth is involved in cattle rearing and Bhanu markets paddy and other agricultural products.

By participating in such work, the children are reducing parents’ agricultural expenditure and more importantly, learning life skills, dignity of labour and self respect.

We believe that what the country gives us is not as important as giving back to the country. By being a part of the backbone of the Indian economy, these children are truly serving the nation.

Young and Responsible

A young Class 4 student, Sadhiq Khan, from the RDF-TMF partnership government primary school showed us that hard work is the key to learning and success.

 During the lockdown and after, his father, who runs a chicken shop in their village experienced financial hardship. His mother is a housewife, so as the sole breadwinner of the family, he decided to send Sadiq and his 2 brothers to the vegetable market to get jobs and learn some selling and earning skills too.  

Sadiq proved to be a quick learner, learning to weigh and sell vegetables in the Tuesday vegetable market. One day, his teacher saw him in the market and was surprised to see him worked. She enquired why he needed to work. Young Sadiq replied, “Ma’am, I am earning money to help my father.” He introduced his teacher to the vegetable cart owner, saying, “Sir, she is my class teacher, please give her a discount.” His teacher felt touched by his love and gratitude. She appreciated him for his thoughtfulness and effort to help his father.

Technically Trained Teachers

 “Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty”

Former USA President, Mr. Lyndon B. Johnson

We admire the commitment of our teachers who are always willing to learn new things in order to enhance the teaching learning environment. Our staff members have been taking online classes since schools shut down due to the pandemic. They had to adapt quickly to this transition in order to make the process smooth for their students. They worked hard at understanding online platforms like Zoom and creating online content in interesting ways.

After wrapping up classes from 9am to 1pm, the teachers then utilise the computer lab to enhance their technical skills in MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc. They use these platforms to record subject notes, data and presentations on specific topics and all in English! This is helping our rural lecturers in improving their knowledge of technology, computers and technical skills. It is also helping them improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills in English. Their dedication shows their excitement of learning irrespective of age. They firmly believe that as long as you’re learning, you’re not old.

The images below are the RDF VAPV Junior College teachers, at work, in the college computer lab.

Home Learning made Interesting

The era of online classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic is here to stay for sometime. RDF teachers have worked hard at adapting to online teaching and helping their students in a supportive manner.

We all know that teaching material made interesting helps with retention and this has been a challenge for many in online classrooms. But RDF teachers came up with a plan to make their rooms like a classroom, using blackboard, teaching through activities, including physical and mental tasks.

This created a lot of interest in learning and children have reported enjoying their classes, chatting and discussing their subjects and world events with their teachers and classmates.

RDF parents are very happy with the care, positivity and support shown by the teachers towards their children.