Archive for January, 2012

High marks for character

Swapna placed the found purse in the school's honesty box

In addition to strong academics, RDF schools strive to teach students good character. First class student Swapna proved that she is learning those lessons well.

Every day, villagers come to Narsimpalli school to take mineral water, showing their water cards before getting their  cans filled. However, villager Narasimha lost his purse while showing his card.

The headmaster and Swapna returned the purse to its owner, villager Narasimha

Swapna later found the purse while she was getting drinking water. She placed it into the honesty box, where it was later found by a teacher. Using clues in the purse, the teacher found its owner, who praised Swapna for her honesty for returning the item.




Little teachers

Nursery student M. Anusha follows teacher N. Sandya's rhymes

In hopes of getting students interested in joining the teaching field, 15 students were selected to learn how different areas of the school work during a “self-government” day at Redlawada.

Some followed teachers in their favorite subjects, while others checked reports and teacher diaries with the headmaster. Other students studied with the physical education teacher and some followed the attender cleaning classrooms, bringing drinking water and ringing the school bells.

A green Sankranthi

Wadlakonda students and teachers created rangavalli using natural ingredients

Wadlakonda welcomed Sankranthi by combining holiday traditions with an environmental message.

The holiday, which marks both the sun’s transition and harvest days, is celebrated with kites, bhogi pallu (showering dried fruits and flowers on children’s heads), gangireddu (the bull dance) and singing Haridasulu. In addition, there is navadhanyalu, an offering of nine grains meant to represent the nine historical planets.

This rangavalli was made with petals, pulses, vegetables and dung

Another popular tradition is rangavalli, the vivid floor designs on people’s doorways during religious festivals. While it’s now common to buy chemical powders, Wadlakonda teachers and students showed how one can create gorgeous rangavalli using natural ingredients.

Rice for white, beans for green, pulses and roti for creams and brown, flower petals for yellow and red combined to make a rangavalli that was both beautiful and good for the environment. In the center was gobbillu, which is made of cow dung.




Better health through education

Kalleda students A. Harish, D. Ravali and V. Shrithi talk to villagers about their living conditions

A good education benefits many people, as demonstrated by Kalleda students who visited villagers to discuss the connection between living environments and diseases and how small changes can improve the communities’ health.
As part of the Social Awareness Program, 8th and 9th class students went to Kalleda, Ravoor, Parvathagiri and Annaram villages to gather information. Then they educated villagers on health problems like how standing drainage water can attract mosquitoes which spread dengue fever and chikungunya and how improperly dumping waste can cause contaminated food and water, which leads to viral fever.

Students A. Harish and D. Ravali participated in the work, which is part of the school's Social Awareness Program

After meeting with the villagers, students also shared their results with all Kalleda students.

Winning gold

VAPV Junior college students Ricky Singh and Sunkari Lavanya recently won medals for archery

VAPV Junior College student Sunkari Lavanya has won three gold medals for archery during a competition in Maharastra.

Lavanya was trained by coach Prabirdas when she was in 10th class in Kareemnagar. Coach Prabirdas has since joined VAPV and Lavanya was admitted to the junior college this year. She is currently studying MPC 1 EM group (maths, physics, chemistry, 1st year English medium).

The competition was a happy change for Lavanya, who lost her father last summer after an accidental gas leakage in their home. In the under 19 category, she won gold medals for both the 70-meters and 30-meter contests and scored gold in the overall champion category.

Students Sunkari Lavanya and Ricky Singh with archery coach Prabirdas

She also got a silver for the 50-meter competition and a bronze for the 60-meter. The competition was sponsored by the School Games Federation-Maharastra.

In addition to Lavanya, junior college student Ricky Singh won a silver medal with his Andhra Pradesh team. Ricky is a first-year student and is studying civics, economics and commerce.

Kitchen lessons

Matendla staff turned the extra tomatoes into chutney that can feed students for months

Matendla’s school farm yielded an abundant tomato crop this year, more than could possibly be used in curries for the school’s mid-day meal.

The school applied RDF’s no waste principle and turned the tomatoes into chutney, which last much longer than fresh curries. The students and kitchen staff cooked enough tomato chutney to last three months at the school! Faculty hope the students learn from this no-waste attitude.

The school's recipe calls for 2 kgs. of chili powder, among other spices

Here is a recipe for Matendla’s tomato chutney


  • 20 kgs tomatoes
  • 100 g turmeric powder
  • 3 kgs salt
  • 1.5 kgs oil
  • curry leaves to taste
  • 1 kg garlic (ground)
  • 2 kgs chili powder
  • 100 g mustard seeds
  • 250 g fenugreek seeds (ground)
  • 250 g cumin seeds (ground)


1. Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces.

2. Mix tomatoes in a large bowl with turmeric powder and salt. Let the mixture sit overnight.

3. The next day, boil the oil in a large pan.  Add the curry leaves as well as the ground garlic

4. Next, add a mixture of the chili powder, mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin seed powder. Switch off the stove.

5. After one hour, mix the oil and spice mixture with the tomatoes