Archive for July, 2018

Ramu’s Inspirational Story..

Life is not easy for RDF children who come from families that have suffered generations of financial and social hardship. Yet, time and again, we see in them, a resilient spirit that makes them push themselves to do the best they can. They take advantage of all the opportunities being provided in RDF schools in order to achieve their goals of completing higher education and having a good career.

Ramu, with family in his thanda

Ramu, an alumnus of RDF Kalleda School belonged to a typical RDF family. He hailed from a Lambada tribe and cycled 5 km to school daily from Seethya thanda to his school. His parents eked their living as farm and daily wage labourers. Ramu loved school and felt that the world was brought closer to him through textbooks and watching documentaries and videos with his teachers. He didn’t feel isolated in his remote thanda. “I always knew that I do well in school and for that I was willing to sacrifice the small joys of growing up”, he once profoundly told his teachers. During holidays, he worked on farms too, in order to financially support his family. He even insisted that some of his earnings go towards his education – this high level of self responsibility and perseverance is a characteristic we see in many of our rural children. In Class 10, his hardwork and his positive attitude ensured that he came out with flying colours, obtaining the 1st rank in the Mandal with a 9.5 GPA!

(L) Being sworn in as Head Boy, (R) As MEO, during ‘model elections’

Explaining a Science exhibit to school visitors

Young children like Ramu create a positive impact on the school, the students and the community because people like him demonstrate how one’s attitude towards life can alter its course. It demonstrates the values of determination, hardwork, sacrifice and working towards achieving ones goals – these are inspirational values for other children to imbibe. These are values that are lived by students, teachers and many members of the rural communities that we serve and these are values that we actively promote in our schools.

Students like Ramu inspire us to work even harder to ensure that RDF institutions remain inspiring and enriching spaces for children to feel cared for and blossom into their best potential!

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A Win for Avinash!

Avinash presents a cheerful personality when he’s in college. His classmates at the RDF VAPV Junior College know him as a likeable, hardworking boy. Hardworking he is, however it comes at the cost of not having any time to himself to pursue other interests and passions.

Avinash’s father was an alcoholic who died when he was in Class 8. Since then, his mother, a daily wage labourer has been singlehandedly supporting him and his sister, who studies in Class 8 in a private school. His mother is very keen to see both of them complete their higher education and get good jobs so that their life can be more settled and balanced.

Avinash is a resilient boy and he has worked in the fields even during his school days in order to support the family. He has slogged to do well in college, while putting in hours of working on farms too. His determination and perseverance ensured that he cleared 1st year intermediate in 2nd division – a result he was happy with, as were his teachers.

This year, during summer vacation, he wanted to earn more and went to Warangal in search of work. He finally found work as a waiter in a small hotel. His monthly income was Rs. 4000. After putting in long hours for the entire summer vacation, he handed over Rs. 10,000 to his mother. She was very proud of her son, but even this amount is insufficient to run their lives, but they’re not complaining.

Avinash says, “I want to educate myself well and get a good job. Our life is hard and I understand this kind of life. So when I am well settled, I will give jobs to those who are poor and unemployed.” Given how many RDF alumni have given back to their communities through monetary help or voluntary work, we are quite sure he will fulfil his life goals and keep his promise.

We love how, despite their economic hardships, our rural children continue to think of others benefit and being socially responsible! It is a very humbling experience for us! Avinash, we are so proud of you and your spirit and noble thoughts touch our hearts! You are a winner!

The Spirit for Sports

RDF puts in a lot of work to go beyond classroom education and arm children with real life skills that will benefit them. Therefore, a lot of effort is put into training teachers, who in turn, mentor children to develop skills that can truly help them in higher education and careers, thus providing them with tools to break the bonds of poverty that they live in. One such route is through sports coaching. We are extremely proud to have produced several District, State, National and even International level players in various sports. All credit goes to the excellent coaching provided by the Physical Education Teachers and the determination and perseverance of students to put in the hard yards and do the very best they can.

Recently, 7 students from RDF Rollakal School participated in Sports School selection competition in Hanamkonda at JNS Stadium. We are very happy that 6 students were selected to the State level Sports School competition. Every year, RDF children make it in sports schools across the state where they can focus on sports and academics together, ultimately getting an entry in Government jobs – a stable source of income and financial freedom for the family!

We feel really happy at the achievement of our students and appreciate the hard work being put in the school’s PET, a well trained teacher, who works patiently with the children each day, giving guidance and instructions concerning every game and sport being played by the children. You can see the dedication from the children, as young as Primary School level, when they come in before school and stay back after school to practice, without being asked to! Now that is motivation!

Such selections have a positive impact on the entire community because other students feel inspired and the ripple effect ensures that they too start focusing more on sports! In addition, time spent outdoors is good for the body, mind and spirit – therefore an atmosphere of good health is also created.

We look forward to the bright future of all these children, who so richly deserve the best that life can offer them!

The Games Children Play!

Given a chance, everyone would play, not just children, but adults too! But to children, play comes naturally and encouraging this natural instinct is something we wanted to do for all RDF children. Therefore, creating playgrounds and encouraging indoor and outdoor games and sports is something we take seriously, pun not intended!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of stress being created in schools where play time is seen as a waste of time. Even in rural areas, we see children spend more time playing games on their phones, than play outdoors. But RDF kids get plenty of opportunities to play as we know that classroom based education, while an important part of the curriculum, is not sufficient to create healthy and happy individuals.

Children come in before school to play badminton, football, volleyball and cricket and do the same after school too. They voluntarily choose to spend their leisure time at play, either outside or indoors. Games build crucial physical and mental fitness. Instead of being indoors, cooped up for long hours, our children get plenty of break time, stretch their muscles and flex their mental muscles too! They say it’s one reason why they love coming to school so much. Many times, teachers join in on the fun too!

In the photos, children of Redlawada School are seen having a great time on the swings that were recently placed in the playgrounds. We love the sound of laughter or the sight of focused silence as children ponder their carom or chess boards! Seeing such vitality makes us feel good about the work we do! Happy kids, happy teachers, happy us!!

Chandra Rising!!

The paths to responsibility and leadership are many and sometimes they remain unseen and eventually move from shadow into the light. Such was the case with young Chandrakala who joined the Mandal Parishad Primary School 3 years ago as a Class 1 student. She spent much of her first year in the school crying to go home and was very unhappy being sent to school. Her teachers tried very hard to make her comfortable. They allowed her to go home on some occasions, while on others, they tried to get her to mingle with her classmates and other times, they gave her space to be on her own. She was so miserable, that sometimes she even refused to come into the classroom, preferring to keep to herself outside.

The teachers and the H.M. know that the journey to accepting life in school, after being home with parents is a different one for each child. They truly wanted Chandrakala to take to school at her own pace, in her own time. Her parents, particularly her father was puzzled by this approach as he felt children just need to adjust and took her lack of adjustment as a failure on the teachers’ part. But the teachers knew what they were doing and asked her parents to be patient with her and them.

Several months later, with time and continuing care and comfort being given by teachers, Chandrakala began to attend classes on her own.  This was a big milestone! As she started to come to class voluntarily, she started to mingle with her classmates and her comfort level grew more. By the end of the year, she was working hard in academics and proved to be a revelation in her reading, writing and speaking ability – she was gifted in picking up things fast! Not only that, she had a natural ability at leading charge too – she volunteered to collect and distribute notebooks, she helped her classmates with classwork and homework and loved her role as a class leader! Her teachers were amazed with her turnaround. She obviously loved school now and started to participate actively in sports and cultural activities too. It was as if she was making up for lost time – such was her energy and enthusiasm to do everything!

The biggest turnaround was in the attitude of her father, who had complained so much about the school. Now seeing his daughter’s progress, he felt very humbled and personally apologised to the teachers and the H.M. He thanked them for showing his daughter the patience and kindness that he could not and expressed gratitude to TMF and RDF for receiving training to understand children’s unique nature and giving them space to grow. So exemplary was Chandrakala’s performance, that the school gave her a double promotion to Class 3! Her parents have now enrolled her brother in the same school, in class 3; so the brother and sister happily study together!

We are very proud of our teachers for their effort and investment in each student and letting the children blossom!

 

Ripe for Skype!

Do you all recall the thrill of 1st using technology and being able to live call and chat with friends and family? While in urban areas, technological advances are growing by leaps and bounds, our rural counterparts are trying to catch up! Lack of public resources has only given us more impetus to help rural, underprivileged children studying in RDF schools achieve some tech advancements of their own! So we have left no stone unturned to set up computer labs in every school, with the gracious support of individuals and corporate sponsors who believe in our vision and truly want to help these children achieve their potential.

Our education partner, Silver Oaks, has been helping our teachers and students through onsite review and coaching visits, including visits by our teachers to their school. However, we felt that this support structure can be further strengthened through using technology and we arrived at ..Skype calls! Though city dwellers are intimately acquainted with Skype, it is brand new for rural children and they were understandably very excited by this!

The Silver Oaks team set up a Skype call between some of their students and RDF students who wanted queries on leadership skills and electoral processes answered and the team was more than happy to help! RDF children were thrilled to see the Silver Oaks students live during the video call and marvelled at the technology that enabled them to speak and see others live – it was a milestone moment for everyone!

Our aim is to always show them ways that anything they want to learn and know is within their reach and go beyond textbook education. We feel so heartened at this level of ongoing support and care that we receive and know how much this impacts our children in many positive ways!