Archive for May, 2018

We are Family!

RDF schools are more an extension of children’s families, rather than formal, isolated schools that don’t have a personal connect with children’s lives. Over the past 22 years,  tremendous effort has been put into creating lasting community relationships which is seen through how readily parents and the extended community members come forward to help the school in any way they can. We feel very blessed that each and every parent and village member trusts their local RDF school and that their children are in good hands – and we take this responsibility very seriously too.

Mr. Ramulu with Rakesh, at his home

Since each RDF school is an integral part of the village community, therefore, problems faced by children’s families are taken up seriously to offer support and help. One such case is the story of Sankineni Rakesh, a young hardworking boy from Rollakal School. Rakesh was very active in games and sports and had a polite and pleasing personality, always speaking with regard and care to teachers and students alike. Unfortunately, due to a major financial setback in his family, his family was unable to pay the school fees. In order to help his parents, Rakesh dropped out of school and did not attend school for 3 months. The Headmaster of the school, Mr. Ramulu, became concerned about his family welfare and went to his house to speak to his parents.

Mr. Ramulu, speaking to Rakesh’s father

He counselled the parents on the importance of education and building a career. He also told them that Rakesh had a bright future and that they should consider sending him back to school and not worry about the fees. His parents were convinced that going to school was the right way and decided to continue his studies. So, with the inspiration of the Headmaster and the support of his subject teachers, Rakesh worked hard to catch up with what he had missed. This story has a happy ending as Rakesh cleared his Class 10 SSC Board exams with a GPA of 6.3, which made everyone really happy!

Rakesh and his family is thrilled with his results and came to the school to thank everyone for convincing them to send Rakesh back to school and not worry about their financial problem and fee payment. This is the power of community relationships – creating an engaged and empowered community that always helps each other mutually!

 

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Our Champions – our Alumni

RDF alumni are its biggest supporters. In the RDF VAPV Junior College, they have been instrumental in driving up enrolment in the college!

As the academic year ends in April, young hopefuls who have just graduated from school after the Class 10 SSC Exams are looking for advice, suggestions and referrals for good Intermediate colleges. We are very proud to let our readers know that all eyes fall on Kalleda because the Junior College has become renowned for its results and facilities.

This year, the college had a pass percentage of 87% in 1st year and 97% in 2nd year. The glowing reports given by our college alumni about the experienced staff, the teaching methods, well equipped labs and good hostel facilities for boys and girls are some of the major reasons why our alumni remember their college with fondness. The ambience in the college is refreshing and invigorating which produces an enriching atmosphere for the pursuit of academics, sports and extracurricular activities.

Many alumni recommend their siblings, relatives and friends to seek admission in the college. They meet the families, speak to them about their experiences in the college and true experience, that too a positive one, definitely creates a good impression! Everyone has said that they feel they have made the right choice with the right institution.

We are very happy and proud that our alumni are our biggest champions who play such a vital role in spreading the good word about RDF through word of mouth. By doing so, we believe they are empowered to make good choices and help bring communities together!

 

True Education

Life for rural people is hard. Most families are either employed in agricultural work or in daily wage labour. They are away for a significant portion of the day, working long hours to earn some money to make ends meet and support their families financially.

This is the reality that RDF children grow up in, so it is an accepted part of life for rural children to start working when they are young to help their parents. The team at RDF Redlwada School who sent in this story was sharing that generally rural people are hard working people, therefore working and helping wherever they can is a quality that rural children imbibe naturally. Not only do they help with chores at home, but many also help in the fields during vacations.

Perhaps this is the reason that RDF children help and support each other so willingly. We believe that being generous and exhibit kindness and help is a crucial value and life skill. Therefore, while supporting their academic pursuits is an important aspect of their school life, so is engaging with them in their daily life and work, encouraging them to assist their parents wherever they can, thus empowering them to take responsibility for their lives and the community. This is the true meaning of education of us!

A Caring Environment..and some carom!

A nurturing environment in school – the support of friends and teachers can have such a positive impact on a student who is struggling – this is something we see time and again in our schools.

Hajekhan is a young Class 3 student in Mandal Parishad Primary School. He comes from a humble background, like most students in the school. His father is an electrician in a private company and his mother works as an ‘ayamma’ in a local college.

Hajekhan is a quiet boy who has not yet reached his potential academically and struggles with the language as his family only speaks Urdu at home. As both parents work in order to make ends meet, he also is unable to get support in his studies at home. He gets some help from his older sisters, but due to their own academic pursuits, they can only help him so much.

But Hajekhan is a spirited boy who loves to make friends and spend time with them. This spirit helps him to a large extent in applying himself to whatever he does. His teachers are also patient with him, indulging his obsession with carom! Actually, playing games, talking to children about their life, their problems is a proven way to bond with them – it helps them open up and trust the adults working with them. He says he wants to become a doctor, so his teachers are helping him realise that he needs to put in a lot of work academically, in order to realise his dreams.

The school team has also been counselling his parents to spend more time with him and try and give him some attention at home and help him with homework. This support network has helped his parents who are trying their best to follow the school’s recommendations. Since all children are provided free stationery, midday meal and snacks and uniforms, they feel very happy and grateful as it eases the financial pressure. They have seen the positive changes in their son and are happy to have him continue in this school till class 10.

Young Hajekhan has also responded optimistically to the care and attention given to him. He even played less carom during final exams preparation, spent more time studying and passed his final exams with a wonderful ‘B’ grade! Well done, Hajekhan! We know you have a beautiful spirit and you will go places, hopefully always with a carom board!!

The Value of Honesty and Generosity

The Assistant HM of Matendla School, Mr. Ganta Malliah and the school accountant, Mr. Sathyaramulu come to the school on their bike from their village located 7 km away. While going to school one day, they found money on the road. The took the money and asked the local Panchayat to see if the owner could be found, but even after several days, no one came forward to claim the money.

Mr. Sathyaramulu (L) & Mr. Ganta Malliah (R) donating the money

After discussing it with community leaders and elders, they decided to donate the money to the school, which was appreciated by the local community as well the staff and children in the school.

Acts like these create a positive impact on the school community because children see the value of honesty as well as helping others through donation of money, skills, time or anything that is no longer needed in a home or office. This unexpected gift will help in some way to better the school and life of rural, underprivileged children.

Gestures like these really drive home the values of helping and generosity, thus creating a nurturing environment in the school.

More than a breath of fresh air!

Summer is in full swing and the heat gets to everyone – young and old. Areas where RDF schools are located are some of the hottest in Telangana. Air conditioning is simply not an option for people living in rural areas, but everyone has an intense desire to have access to cooling.

Students, assembling the materials & taking stock

However, Lady Luck was on our side! Synchrony Financial, a multinational organisation that has been supporting RDF in areas such as English development, Computer skills enhancement, soft skills and job skills training, on site in Kalleda School as well in their Hyderabad Head Office decided to recruit students of Classes 8 & 9 from Kalleda School to develop a clever cooling system that does not need electricity! The icing on the cake was that this cooler can be built from common waste materials such as empty plastic cold drink bottles – talk about being environmentally friendly and recycling plastic!

Hard at work, assembling the Eco Coolers

In just 3 months, Synchrony Financial and the Kalleda School students prepared smart, powerless air conditioners called ‘Eco Coolers’. The  method to make an Eco Cooler is fairly simple.  A board is cut to fit the desired window size and bottle neck sized holes are cut out in a grid pattern on the body of the plastic bottle. The neck of the plastic bottle is cut off and discarded, leaving funnel shaped bottle necks that are placed on the grid.  The Eco Cooler is fit into the window. When mounted, the wider port of the bottle faces outward and catches the passing wind, literally funnelling cool air into the house. It has the ability to bring the temperature down by as much as 5 degrees celcius!

..And they’re ready!

This was an electrifying project (pun unintended) for our students who were able to enhance their thinking and creative capacities and learnt how to make an innovative system, perfect for summer and taking into consideration the financial constraints of rural communities. In addition, it was an excellent enterprise in recycling waste materials and doing something positive for their community and the country too. This was such an enriching experience for everyone involved! While initially, students had to spend some time collecting the bottles and understanding how to make them, they slowly picked up and were able to make several of them!

We are so blessed that Synchrony Financial gave our students the opportunity to create a locally produced system and providing them with the necessary skills that empowered them to do something so productive for themselves and rural people. We are very grateful to the team at Synchrony Financial and so proud of our students’ new skills in innovation and social responsibility!