Celebrating Independence Day and Independent Minds!

Independence Day was celebrated throughout the country. While it was the 72nd year of independence, many parts of India, especially rural areas continue to be underdeveloped and underserved. This is felt acutely by the rural communities that RDF works with. However, we feel very proud that in the midst of continuing challenges, we are raising independent minded children, who bravely engage with these issues in their own communities.

On this Independence Day, the children and staff of Redlawada School took out a rally with a difference. Though it was raining, the flag was hoisted and there was an atmosphere of celebration. The children decided that the community needs to be better involved in developing the infrastructure in the villages such as roads and water resources. The lack of such basic amenities means that the kids are well versed with what is needed to developed in rural areas and that action as citizens is also needed. We are happy to see that they feel empowered to take such action! Therefore the rally was conducted with the view to urge and encourage the villagers to come together and figure out solutions to these basic problems that they still face.

Isn’t this real education? These are the skills that are needed to be developed through education – to be in service to society – understand social problems that affect them and come up with solutions. We couldn’t be prouder of these clear thinking young kids! Independent, clear and creative thinking was the motto for the school this Independence Day!

Advertisements

Celebrating Pure Partnerships!

Mr. Sai Reddy (L) & Mr. Kiran Addala (Far R) with school team & parents

15th August 2018 turned out to be an unforgettable day for the RDF family, especially the Rollakal School community! Mr. Sai Reddy, a Director at Infor donated a water purifying system to the school! Keeping in mind the long term health and hygiene of the school team and the locals, it was a lovely gift to receive.

Enjoying pure & refreshing water!

Infor has been a long standing partner and has supported RDF’s vision of rural education and empowerment for nearly a decade. The school stands today due to funding support received from Infor  management and employees. Over the years, they have made several visits to the school to interact with everyone and also provide skill based training to aid students’ development.

The parents are also very appreciative about this donation. On this Independence Day, the community rejoiced its independence from water borne diseases which they have been prey to, in the past. We deeply thank Mr. Sai Reddy and Team Infor for helping us in invaluable ways and cherish this partnership for many, many years to come

A Green Award!

The MPP and ZPH schools have been thriving under the care and guidance of the Tech Mahindra Foundation and RDF partnership since 2015. This is the 4th year in which the schools have been supported in all aspects of its operations – infrastructure, education, midday meals, teaching learning materials, setting up of a library, bridging the parent and village communities with the schools etc. These efforts and facilities have firmly established both schools as quality education providers and pillars in the community.

Greening the environment has also been a key aspect of developing the school, with both RDF and TMF, as well as the Telangana government providing saplings and plants to the schools. The garden has been maintained by Mrs. and Mr. Beeraiah – the schools’ security team and we are indebted to the deep care they have provided to the blossoming of this garden. When you walk into the schools, you are greeted with the extent of the greenery in both schools!

The kitchen garden, sponsored by TMF and RDF occupies pride of place in the schools. This organic garden has provided many seasonal vegetables, herbs like coriander, mint and sorrel for the midday meals. In addition, it is also abundant with flowering trees, mango, papaya and coconut trees! It’s a paradise for the community, who have watched the efforts of the school teams to grow and nurture these gardens, adding to the green cover in the neighbourhood.

School principal receiving the award

In appreciation of this effort, the school received the ‘Haritha Mitra’ award on 15th August 2018. This awarded was given at the District level by the State Home Minister, Sri. Nayini Narsimha Reddy, for greening the environment and maintaining the school surroundings in a neat manner!

We are all so proud of this honour and the effort that has been put in by the entire school team to create this oasis and providing a wonderful example for the children and the community on the importance of caring for the environment!

A Special Birthday

Blow candles, cut a birthday cake, play some games with friends and feast on good food either cooked or ordered in – sound familiar? It’s a routine birthday celebration! But RDF schools encourage its students and staff to think beyond themselves to celebrate their special day.

Smt. and Sree Sudarshan whose son, Harsha, studies in Matendla School, decided to do something special for his birthday. RDF actively promotes social awareness and youth initiatives across its schools, so his parents planned to show their respect for this planet and the environment on Harsha’s birthday. With the entire school watching and helping them, they planted 3 guava trees – to shower its blessings and fruits as it grows each year.

After all, the human species lives because of the resources of Mother Earth, so it was fitting that Harsha’s parents reciprocated this blessing by planting trees in the school. It also shows the regard that the parent community has for the school, so it was very touching for everyone present.

By witnessing such events, students understand not to take our planet for granted and have the social responsibility to do their bit to conserve it. It also made them understand the true importance of birthdays and to celebrate it in a much more special way, rather than the self indulgent way that its normally celebrated. The Headmaster of the school offered his heartfelt thanks to the parents on behalf of the entire school.

Manisha’s Fight for Freedom

The life of many girls and women is still in the hands of others, even in the 21st century. Fortunately, the tide is turning, not just in cities but in rural parts of the country too. There are many who are now standing up for the cause of women’s emancipation and we are very fortunate to witness this often in our schools.

Manisha is a Class 10 student in the Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Zilla Parishad High School, which is supported by RDF for quality education interventions. Manisha is a bright girl, diligent in academics, sports and cultural activities alike. However, her father was adamant about getting her married as soon as she finished Class 9! Manisha was equally adamant about not marrying and continue with her education, including nursing dreams of joining the Police. There was a constant battle of wills at home, leaving Manisha very perturbed about her fate being decided by her father. This is when she decided to approach her teachers at school to seek counsel and help.

ZPHS teachers with Manisha’s mother

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but strength and we are very glad that Manisha trusted her teachers to guide her. It shows the work that has gone into forging this kind of teacher-student bond.  Mrs. Shyamala and Mrs. Priyadarshini met her parents to speak about her future. They counselled them on the importance of education and girls having independence and a career, something Manisha really wants for herself. She is hardworking and wants to use her time and talents in educating herself and working. Eventually her father relented and allowed her to complete Class 10. It’s a small victory!

This story is unfinished as Manisha wants to reach her goals which involve her parents being counselled more; so they are taking it a step at a time. We are proud that Manisha has the courage to stand up for her ambitions and even more proud that she felt empowered enough to enlist the help of her teachers and that the entire school team is supporting her! This is how communities get empowered – one person and one family at a time!

Planting for our Planet

RDF children sure take their social responsibilities very seriously. Living in the lap of nature in rural India, the slow degradation of the green cover is intensely personal as they see it right before their eyes. Haritha Haram – Telangana Government’s flagship programme to increase the green cover in the state has been taken up enthusiastically by RDF schools. These children are eager and determined to do their bit to help their local environ and thus, the planet. Teachers and children often take nature walks and have activities and discussions on what they, as citizens can do to keep the environment alive and healthy.

Students of Classes 6 – 8 participated in the recent Haritha Haram programme by inviting the Warangal Rural collector, Mrs. Haritha and other Government officials. Together, they planted many saplings, not just in the school, but in the neighbourhood too! It was lovely to see the community spirit and effort in full swing. The children also took responsibility to care for 1 plant each.

The collector gave several suggestions on how to look after the saplings and other initiatives that can be taken to keep the environment green. The children took these messages to heart and over the next few days, were seen urging the local villagers to plant more saplings and look after the existing plants and trees in their homes and neighbourhoods! We are so proud of their sense of responsibility towards our planet and having the courage to spread positive messages, thus creating a positive impact on their communities.

The He’art’ of Drawing

The 1st language used  by humans to express their thoughts and feelings is the medium of drawing, then comes speaking and thereafter, writing. Cave paintings by our Neolithic ancestors were our 1st clues into the past and lives of early man. Similarly, when we are around young children, they take uninhibitedly to drawing and colouring, using any surface they can! Drawing is an important outlet for children who do not yet have verbal skills to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

Kalyan, engrossed in drawing

At RDF, we encourage not just the young pre-primary children to explore themselves through the creative medium of drawing, but children of all age groups are encouraged to do so. When a child draws something familiar to them they have the opportunity to think about what they know and how they feel towards the people, things and situations that they are familiar with. RDF children are provided many opportunities to develop their drawing skills.

Kalyan of Kalleda School, a student of Class 6 has truly taken to the medium of drawing! He draws pictures based on situations that he encounters in his school and personal life. His personal connect comes through in every drawing because the drawing is essentially a map of his feelings for the person/object/situation. In his drawing of a ‘farmer’, he has the opportunity to think about what he knows of farmers and farming and how he feels about farmers. Another area he has been exploring vociferously, is ‘Gods’.

Drawing & fabulous colours of Lord Hanuman

Kalyan can spends hours in deep concentration – almost meditative – when he is drawing. He finds it a very fulfilling activity and feels happy when left with his paper and pencils. All RDF schools also have a ‘Wall Magazine’ where children are encouraged to put up all artistic creations, be it drawings, articles, stories, poems etc. Other children in the school are inspired by Kalyan’s drawing and we’ve seen more kids take to it enthusiastically!

The Wall Magazine

We believe that academic pursuits can be unidimensional, if not explored alongside other pursuits that engage the body and mind, such as art, craft, music and sports etc. In fact, we have seen such creative endeavours make children confident and our teachers always promote children’s innate talents and skills. This opens up their minds to delve into professions such as photography and painting. It also creates a spirit of entrepreneurship because kids have a good sense of self and pride themselves on their abilities.