Archive for January, 2016

Celebrating Bonalu

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Who doesn’t love the colour, fanfare and the huge family occasions that Indian festivals are? A very enthusiastic group of Class 5 students from Rollakal School decided organize the Bonalu festivities for their community. With a sense of discipline that comes from a sense of purpose, the children bought pots from their local potter. Another group adorned the earthen pots with neem leaves, turmeric and vermillion and lit a diya on top of the pot as they carried them home on their heads, offering ‘bonam’ to the Mother Goddess at the temple. Together with their local community, they celebrated the bliss of a rich harvest and danced the traditional dance with great abandon and gaiety. This was followed by the cooking of the traditional Bonalu meal where rice is cooked with milk and jaggery in the earthen pots and then shared with their families.

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Martial ‘Heart’

Prasannalakshmi1 India has been witnessing a change in attitudes towards women. It is still slow and still seen only in segments of society, but it is nevertheless a change. Very often these changes are often prescribed to urban pockets, where in the last few decades, more women are completing education, more women are opting for higher education, more women are working independently and becoming income generators for their families. More women are rising through the ranks in organisations and more women are marrying later and continuing to work, after marriage and rejoining the workforce after starting families.

So shifts in mindsets in rural areas can go unnoticed. RDF’s mission is to educate, engage and empower all children and there has been a special emphasis on the girl child. So we celebrate, feel proud and joyful when we see these shifts with our own eyes – like the change in little Prasanna Lakshmi’s family! Much like the increased enrollment of girls in our schools and more support towards these young girls completing their education, Prasanna’s family has been very encouraging of her enthusiasm towards the martial art of ‘Taekwondo’. Prasannalakshmi5Believing that their girls have a right to go to school and should pursue activities that interest them is a sea change from the earlier mindset of keeping them at home and getting them married in their teens.

In the near 2 decades that we have been working with rural communities, we have seen girls empower themselves with choices – choices that their mother’s or grandmother’s generation didn’t have. Many come back to help us in various ways – teaching subjects or cultural activities and even donating money to RDF! Prasanna’s family is one of many families who are slowly beginning to understand that society is only enriched by its women and the lesson’s begin right at home – like little Prasanna’s. 

Arrows of Donation

Arrows worth Rs. 35000-Our highest parameter of success – that we are doing good for our students and by our students is when they return as adults and give back to RDF in whichever way they can. Over the past nearly 2 decades, many RDF alumni have enriched our teaching and learning environment through contribution of their time, talent and even money.

The ongoing festive season brought even greater festive spirit to us when the RDF Archery Coach, Mr. Raju conveyed heartwarming news that 2 RDF alumni archers, M. Prasanna Kumar and G. Chandulal donated four dozen arrows, which they procured second hand for RDF students. Their generosity saved the team over Rs. 35,000! This has been an unexpected and delightful gift for RDF!

M. Prasanna Kumar

M. Prasanna Kumar

G.Chandu Lal

G. Chandu Lal

Our deepest gratitude and blessings to our large heart alumni who make us so proud!

Enhancing Parent Engagement

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Parent engagement is crucial to student learning. While students do spend a large portion of their time in school and pursuing school related activities, the awareness and contribution of parents’ time can never be undervalued. The values learnt at home and in school need to coincide so that the child feels supported in both environments.

With this goal, the Mandal Parishad High School organises regular parent teachers meetings in order to increase the involvement of parents in the school and their child’s activities. At the quarterly Parent Teacher Meet organised in December, the school management and staff explained every school activity that was scheduled during the year. A key topic of discussion was personal hygiene and nutrition. Parents were asked to ensure that children brush their teeth and bathe every day, wear clean and neat uniforms. They were also informed about the importance of nutrition beginning with a good breakfast or morning meal and sending their children to school with a bottle of water.Parent Mtg 2

They also appealed to parents to discuss the children’s school activities when they return from school and participate more actively in checking the kid’s learning levels. They were also asked to send children regularly to school and informing the school in advance in case of any absences. Parent records were updated with submission of Aadhar Card copies and updated contact numbers. Thereafter the class teachers had discussions with parents individually about their child’s progress and distributed report cards. Permission was also sought to take the children on a field trip to Salarjung Museum on 5th December. The idea was welcomed by parents which fanned the children’s excitement even more. All 105 parents were thanked for their attendance and show of support for the school.

A Tale of Talent

Jan blogVemunoori Anil is an alumnus of RDF Kalleda School who studied in the school right from Nursery to Class 10. Academically, he always struggled though he always showed sincerity towards his school work. However, when he reached High School, a workshop in Computers with volunteers sparked his imagination, thus sowing the seed for a long standing passion for computers! He began to spend close to 5 hours in the computer lab, before and after school, with encouragement from the school’s computer teacher. The RDF CEO at the time, Mr. Vidya Sagar Rao, was impressed by Anil’s keen interest and sponsored a hardware training course for Anil. Thereafter, Anil went on to participate in a 3 month computer training program provided by the then Andhra Pradesh state government.

The training provided him with the requisite qualifications and experience and he was appointed by the school as the Primary School computer teacher. His passions continues to propel him to learn more and more about computer hardware and software and he now takes care of approximately 150 computers across RDF Schools. He has now become the ‘go-to’ person for all computer related issues! Anil’s story shows to us that being academically good is not all that is required to do well in life. A talent or interest or hobby can be nurtured where one’s talents can provide a useful and valued service to others, just like Anil!

Anil is inspirational to every student and teacher in RDF!

“Dealing responsibly with Dowry”

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Dowry is still a very serious social problem in India, an issue of immense concern that cuts across socio-economic classes. Wanting to inculcate a solution oriented theme on this issue in class, the High School Social Studies teacher created a debating platform. The idea was to get students to use their analytical and reasoning skills and communicate their thoughts coherently, thus also improve speaking skills, while still focusing on the big picture of creating awareness on the issue!

 Focusing on discrimination against girl child and dowry drew a strong response from N. Jyothi from Class 10. Likening the practice of dowry to the sale of goods, Jyothi sought to get the audience thinking about the lack of humanness from her perspective.  Mukesh, a Class 8 student brought up the subject in the context of ancient traditions being followed by many communities. Finally, the Social Studies teacher, Mr. Thirupathi and the Headmaster, Mr. Vishnu intervened and recommended a via media that would involve rejecting the practice and the potential groom in situations involving threat and pressure from the groom’s end, informing the local law and order authorities and keeping the culture alive from the perspective of exchanging gifts to celebrate the marriage. This idea went down very well with the students who now plan on creating awareness campaigns and spread the message in their villages.