Archive for May, 2017

Future Sense

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children” ~ Anonymous 

A pond on campus, a watering hole for birds & small creatures alike

In times long long ago, now nearly forgotten, when lessons were taught under trees, the creatures of nature formed a part of learning from nature & living with nature. With abundant greenery, one can imagine the richness of bird and insect species that would have made the trees, grass & shrubs their home. Sadly, with depleting green cover, it is becoming rarer to find a diversity of such creatures or native trees, flowers, shrubs and herbs.

 

Butterfly varieties that flock to the abundant flowers & shrubs

 

We are proud that the RDF VAPV Junior College is making effort & taking responsibility for greening their campus. The over 400 varieties of plants and trees are providing shelter, the fruits are providing sufficient food & it is a delight to watch birds, butterflies and bees hover near the sweet corn and sunflower plants!

Water bowls, placed under trees

They have also created open pads and water bowls on the trees. Several varieties of birds flock to these resting places, savouring the sweet corn and fruit varieties.

They strongly believe that it is our responsibility to protect the biodiversity in areas that we reside in, for the sake of the future generations.

 

 

 

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Nurturing Creative Intent

Nurturing creativity, thinking and analytical skills is far more important than memorizing texts and writing examinations. While clearing examinations are necessary to get the requisite degree, it is ultimately skills such as creative thinking, analytical reasoning, exploring interests and seeing them through with perseverance that actually help in career and life.

Raju, showing his JCB model to trainers from Andhra Mahila Sabha

Raju, a Class 10 student in RDF Redlawada School, was inspired to construct a JCB after seeing one lumbering down the road in his native village of Redlawada. He was also intent on making a working model and not just a toy. Since growing up in RDF, from LKG onwards, he was always exposed to the importance of conservation and recycling. Therefore, he also decided to recycle waste materials to create his JCB.

With prior experience in activity based learning methods which nurture curious minds, it is not surprising why Raju was so keen to see his experiment to fruition. With the encouragement of his Science teacher, he procured materials such as syringes an pipes to assemble his model JCB. Once he put it together, he displayed it to his classmates, including its workings. It is amazing how creating working models of everyday vehicles bring to light so many scientific principles that make learning so easy. Raju proved to be a very able teacher to his peers by demonstrating how a JCB works!

Raju has always loved the atmosphere in his school, even when it was running in a small rented premises till 4 years ago. The atmosphere of invention, encouragement and creativity make him and other students interested in learning and their lessons. RDF teachers have been trained to pay attention to students’ innate talent and abilities, which support their growth and development.

Well done Raju & the teachers of Redlawada School for polishing a diamond like him & our RDF students! This is true value of Educating, Engaging and Empowering!

 

Alumni Career Achievements

“Education is the vehicle for rural development” – this is the motto that inspires RDF’s work and vision to educate, engage and empower rural, underprivileged children.

While RDF leaves no stone unturned to develop its students through being taught by well trained teachers, the provision of computer, English language and science labs, a well stocked library and development of mind, body and spirit through focus on sports, yoga and meditation; it is the successes of its students, who absorb the learnings with enthusiasm and grit, that truly allow us to feel proud. Their success and achievements are RDF’s success and achievement!

Sandeep

The focus on sports in RDF schools is not merely considered an extra curricular activity. Sports development creates discipline, resilience and an ability to handle life challenges. Therefore, sports development is seen as an essential life skills and not a ‘P.T period’ per se. Several RDF alumni, having shone brilliantly at their chosen sport, have gone on to get Government jobs, which provide job security and financial relief to families, who have been mired in poverty for generations.Sandeep and Madhukar are alumni of the 2007-8 and 2005-6 batch respectively. Both were interested in sports and games since their primary school days. They eventually took up sports seriously and excelled in athletics. Both come from financially deprived families and were determined to work hard and excel in academics too. With this focus on excelling in both academics and sports, both boys eventually got jobs in the Police department.

Madhukar

Examples like Sandeep and Madhukar provide inspiration to scores of RDF children who hope for a better and brighter future for themselves and their families. The values of hard work, determination, perseverance and rising up to life’s challenges are instilled in students through understanding the struggles and achievements of alumni like Sandeep and Madhukar.

We salute these bright alumni who continue to shine a light on how a quality education system, such as that instilled by RDF institutions, deep engagement with students and teachers that comes from a space of care, truly empowers them to take on their future with courage and break the bonds of poverty.

Our Role in Enrollment

The Telangana Government has launched the ‘Professor Jaya Shankar Badibata Programme’ which aims to drive enrollment levels in schools by motivating and encouraging families to enroll school age children and school dropouts to join neighbourhood government schools.

ZPHS students in the school enrollment rally in Bahadurapally

As part of this initiative, students of the Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Zilla Parishad High School, along with staff from ZPHS and the Mandal Parishal Primary School, conducted an awareness program and rally in and around the village of Bahadurapally.

Students, as spokespersons of their school, spoke to parents to encourage them to send their children to school, giving details about the high quality of education and facilities that are being provided as part of the school improvement partnership between TMF and RDF.

Students talking to the local community during the drive

The villagers responded positively and were found to be aware of best practices being implemented both the government schools through existing parents and children.

With many school age children still not in school and school dropouts getting marginalized in society; such initiatives are crucial to helping families making an informed decision to send their wards to school.

 

Understanding Underground Water Depletion

India is in the throes of its relentless and harsh summer. Nowhere are people more at the mercy of summer, fraught with anxiety over crops and water, than in rural areas.  The bedrock of the Indian economy, agriculture, is faced with increasing anxiety with each passing summer, due to erratic weather patterns caused by deforestation, lack of rainfall and depletion of underground water.

This is the reality that RDF’s rural children and their families live in. In order to understand the seriousness of this problem, the Science and Social Studies teachers in Matendla School decided to give a project to students of Class 8 and 9, wherein they had to understand the reasons for ground water depletion and the challenges faced by farmers due to this. The students decided to meet some farmers at their fields and were accompanied by the Science and Social Studies teachers.

The farmers showed them the irrigation systems which are created though agricultural wells and borewells. They explained that underground water levels were depleting due to erratic rain and deforestation. This is resulting in farmers being forced to rely on digging borewells, which is also a temporary solution.

While an immediate or sustainable solution is not yet forthcoming, we hope that some of our students pursue sustainability and water conservation research methods which can be implemented in their villages. At the very least, students are very aware of the causes and remain conscious and mindful of water usage in their homes which is a good start!

Saluting our Student Committees!

The Student Committees in RDF schools were formed with the aim of making the students responsible for their school’s key operational areas. Rather than being passive recipients of the school’s rules and guidelines, the committees make students active participants.  The committees are created with consensus between students and teachers. The day to day running and overall management of each committee is done by the students, with supervision and mentoring by a teacher.

In Rollakal School, the committees have become more efficient and disciplined over the years and the students show a lot of care in the execution of their duties. The areas that the students look after are Dining & Mess Management, Classroom & Playground Discipline, Sports & Games, Water Management, Neatness & Hygiene.  The students do an admirable job of the planning and implementation of their respective committees.

Clockwise from top: Kiran, Soumya, Rahul, Swarnlatha, Tharun

The smooth running has demonstrated leadership capacities in its student leaders, team cooperation and good delegation, along with community engagement within and outside their school – all qualities that are necessary in life.

Thank you to D. Soumya, Class 10, G. Swarnalatha, Class 10, M. Yudhasree – Class 9, D. Shivasagar – Class 8, D. Sarath – Class 7, K. Kiran – Class 7, B. Rahul – Class 6 and Ch. Tharun – Class 5 for doing such a fantastic job and making the school proud!