Archive for June, 2016

A World of Good: World Yoga Day Celebrations

ms 5Yoga forms an intrinsic part of RDF’s activities with rural children. The holistic approach to education involves high quality academic inputs and equally importantly, a focus on other programs in the realm of sports, art, craft, social awareness, health and hygiene etc, that also develop the mind, body and spirit.

While yoga has been gaining world wide repute as a health practice that provides considerable benefits to practitioners, it has always been a part of RDF’s work with children for several years. Each school has created time in the morning that is devoted to meditation and yoga. This continues during vacation time too if schools are conducting activities for children. This is also encouraged among teachers as well, so that they start their day with a clear and calm mind. These practices have led to positive benefits among our students, with most students stating that daily yoga helps them keep calm, provides them with a fresh mind, increases focus and concentration, makes them alert, helps with stress during examinations etc. ms 1

Mr. Laxminarayana, the Physical Education Teacher at RDF Matendla School, has been at the forefront for training several students over the years to immerse themselves in daily yoga practice and has nurtured them to District and State level accolades too. He has inspired students and teachers not just in Matendla School, but in other RDF schools too, to take up the practice of yoga and experience the improvements in their physical, mental and emotional health.

ms 2On the occasion of World Yoga Day on 21st June 2016, Matendla School conducted yoga activities for the entire school. Every student and teacher participated enthusiastically. The PET led them through a full yoga session. Several asanas were demonstrated by students. He also gave a talk on the importance of yoga and maintaining a daily practice to experience the world of good that yoga offers. ms 4

Positive feedback for RDF!

Dr. Shyamala with the school team

Dr. Shyamala with the school team

Any NGO needs the support of its partners in order to fulfill its vision and mission for the highest benefit of its primary stakeholders. Financial support from individuals and organisations that share the vision is an integral aspect of managing program operations.

One of RDF’s long term partners has been the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) that has been financially supporting RDF for several years. The funds received are utilised in three core areas viz. teacher training, infrastructure development and provision of teaching and learning materials. RDF provides regular reporting to its funding partners regarding the utilization of funds in the areas that the funds are meant to be allocated to.

Observing High School Science exhibits

Observing High School Science exhibits

In May, CAF representative, Dr. Shyamala, visited RDF schools to review the activities and operations and utilization of CAF funds. She spent the day observing primary and high school classes, Science exhibits and Art work, Library, Computer and English labs, digital sessions and cultural activities. She also examined documents and evidence. She spent time interacting with primary and high school teachers as well as parents, school staff and RDF Headoffice staff to get their feedback on RDF’s work.

Interacting with Primary School children & teachers

Interacting with Primary School children & teachers

She was very happy with what she saw, commending RDF’s work for rural children and rural communities and gave a very positive review to the team. RDF received a Valedictory Certificate from CAF after the report was shared. We are very pleased with her positive review and hope to have a long lasting partnership with CAF.

A Summer of Fun

Summertime for children can be a season for not just heat, but boredom too. With the summer heat keeping people indoors and children left bereft of friends due to school holidays; kids (and most people) can begin to feel restless.

RDF well wishers are aware of RDF’s partnership with two Government schools, that are being sponsored by Tech Mahindra Foundation in order to improve the standards of teaching and learning in Government schools. Over the past two years, the RDF team has been working intensively with the Mandal Parishad Primary School, Bahadurapally, to create activities that will enrich the learning environment in the school.

MPPS 1

It has been our observation that the children in the school have grown to love the range of activities and programs being provided within the academic and extracurricular umbrella. Several programs have been implemented in collaboration with partners to allow learning to be more fun and present creative ways for teachers to engage with children.

MPPSWith the kids displaying eagerness towards attending school and throwing themselves into various activities, the school team, along with RDF, decided to organise summer holiday activities for the kids. These included outdoor sports earlier in the morning such as cricket, volleyball, kabaddi and kho-kho, which the kids loved. Several indoor games were also made available, such as carrom, painting, art and craft, reading, chess etc. The parents were happy to see their children productively engaged during their vacation time, learning new things and the kids enjoyed their time playing with their friends and classmates.

The teachers were also happy to organize and participate in these activities with the kids. The interest of the teachers and children motivates RDF and TMF to work even harder to provide high quality programs that will benefit the community.

 

Congratulations to SSC Board Examination Toppers!

At the school level, the Class 10 Board Examination is the single most important goal that students and teachers collectively work towards. Rural families who struggle to make financial ends meet, struggling with a life of toil and hardship, the hopes and dreams of families reside in their children doing well in school.

The quest for a good education for their child rests in admission to a school that delivers quality education. This can be hard in rural areas. RDF’s vision and commitment to the cause of providing high quality education which has been proven through the success of several alumni, gives confidence to parents that their children are in good hands. Together, the RDF team and its school staff put in a lot of work to train teachers, create and deliver programs with esteemed educational partners to create and implement innovative and quality education programs. Without a doubt, students put in long hours of toil to ensure a decent grade that can get them admission into a Junior College and course of their choice.

We always feel a sense of pride and revel in the success of our students. We present glimpses into the lives of the RDF school toppers in 2016 –

M. Swapna

M. Swapna

Kalleda: M. Swapna, cleared the examination with a 9.5 GPA. An earnest and hardworking girl, Swapna is the first in her family to attend school. As her father abandoned the family, her mother provided all the encouragement she needed to remain in school and do well.

K. Kavya

K. Kavya

Matendla: K. Kavya got a GPA of 9.5 in the SSC Exams.  The daughter of the former Sarpanch of the village, Kavya is a popular student and excelled in academics and in sports too. She has also been a National Level athlete. Motivated by a summer training camp she attended at GE, she dreams of becoming a Software Engineer.

P. Kasturi

P. Kasturi

Rollakal: P. Kasturi got 9.3 points in the SSC Exams. Hailing from a very financially constrained family, Kasturi always had the spark to be the best in class. Encouraged by her parents who are daily wage earners, she was determined to top the exams. Her determination has certainly made her achieve her goal which has made her family and the school very proud.

(L) B. Shivaprasad, (R) M. Jayaprakash

(L) B. Shivaprasad, (R) M. Jayaprakash

Redlawada: B. Shivaprasad and M. Jayaprakash are joint toppers from Redlawada, both receiving a 9.3 GPA.  Both students are known to be hardworking and confident. Their family members are very happy about their success.  Both students have received a free seat in the Government College based on the 2016 POLYCET.

We are also immensely proud that RDF girls are shining in all areas from academics to extracurricular and sports activities! Well done to everyone!

Synchronization of Learning and Life skilling

RDF students with the Synchrony Finance team, Hyderabad

RDF students with the Synchrony Finance team, Hyderabad

An NGO’s mission can only be accomplished with the help of its partners. The collaboration of partners who value the vision, mission and help in the achievement of goals needs to be highlighted as these shared values is what allows the NGO to truly achieve outcomes.

Last year, we were grateful for the support of Synchrony Finance – a Hyderabad based multinational, who donated funds, computers and equipment to start an English Language Lab in Kalleda School. Computer skills are an imperative life skill for children, especially rural children who do not have access to technology. Along with the new lab, Synchrony Finance also pledged their ongoing support by providing training in English Communication each year.

In May, 31 students from RDF Schools travelled to Hyderabad to participate in this program. The intensive, though fun filled program provided many crucial inputs to RDF students to become familiar with English. The one on one attention and the high quality of the training was enjoyed by the students, who responded well to the training. Many, who have struggled with the language in school, showed good improvement with this training. The trainers too were very appreciative of the dedication to learn and hard work put in by the students. In particular, Shireesha, performed very well in her assessments. An academically average student in school, Shireesha (circled in red, in the accompanying photograph) blossomed during the training, which made the trainers and her very proud! Certificates were presented to the children in the presence of the RDF Chairman.

We remain grateful to the Synchrony Finance management, team and the trainers, who have designed this program for our rural children to develop their confidence and skills in English. We hope that such continued training will equip our students with all the skills necessary and provide a good foundation for their future careers.

Playtime with paper boats!

Children plying rain water with boats.1Is there a child in India or any part of the world who is not familiar with the enchantment of making and playing with paper boats? The onset if monsoons or even a small puddle become a delightful playground for boisterous children, filled with glee, having fun with their paper boats. Games ensue, sometimes gaining competitive levels, to keep the boats upright and floating, creating ripples in the water to capsize a rival’s boat! Then there are the children who sit lazily by the water, idly pushing their boat around, quite content to dream about being on a boat, in a river, having an adventure entirely on their own.

Children plying rain water with boats.2The rains in May created many opportunities merry playtime for the kids in Redlawada School. The numerous pools of water dotting the school grounds became a playground for invigorating water play and paper boat games. As adults, there is so much to learn observing children at play. The sources of delight and happiness for them is so simple – splashing water, getting the boats to ride in small puddles bring about refreshing peals of laughter that really warm the heart.

Watching them play reminded us of this beautiful poem aptly titled ‘Paper Boats’ by Rabindranath Tagore that beautifully captures the innocence and imagination of childhood –

Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running stream.

In big black letters I write my name on them and the name of the village where I live.

I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and know who I am.

I load my little boats with shiuli flowers from our garden, and hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land in the night.