Archive for May, 2019

The Importance of Educating Girls

Times are slowly changing in rural India when girls are encouraged to go to school, remain in school and pursue their dreams. We see this happen in the RDF institutions and with RDF’s best practices firmly in place in the Tech Mahindra-RDF partnership Government schools, we are seeing similar stories emerging from these 2 schools too. We find such stories very inspiring and this gives us hope that things are moving in the right direction. While education is crucial to help regain financial independence and live lives out of poverty, girl child education is a social change taking firm root.

Jyothi

Jyothi is a Class 6 student in ZPHS who has been helping her mother who works in a canteen on daily wages, during holidays and at home, since her father passed away when she was very young. Gaining courage from her mother, who advised her to remain in school and find a good job, Jyothi has been diligent in academics and extracurricular activities. She loves quiz competitions! She’s working hard with the hope of getting a Government scholarship for her higher education.

Manisha

Manisha is a Class 9 student in the same school. Though the family is going through the recent bereavement of the loss of her father a few months ago, again, it’s her mom who has encouraged her to go to school and remain focused on her education. We see her mother’s fortitude in Manisha, as she’s getting back to life in school and pursuing studies with care and help from her teachers and peers. She also excels in sports and was awarded Rs. 1000 for Best Student by TNR Academy.

The future is bright for girls like Jyothi and Manisha and it shows the importance of having family support and an enabling environment at home. We honour their mothers and many such families who forge ahead with their goals with grace and tenacity, despite grave setbacks and challenges. When we see such inspiring change in rural communities, it gives us hope for the future of girls.

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Fun & Learning with Photography

Shutterbug Chandana, in school

RDF schools provide guidance and encouragement to develop our rural student’s innate interests and hobbies. Going beyond textbook and classroom based education; the schools do their best to help hone these interests and talents. Developing such skills can also help students create a source of income for themselves and become self sufficient, which is crucial in order to help alleviate the financial poverty in their lives.

Scenic beauty of Redlawada captured by Chandana

Local women at work; PC: Chandana

Extracurricular activities are one such way for students to understand their personal interests and spend more time in building them. J. Chandana who has just finished Class 10 from Redlawada School, became interested in photography 3 years ago. Since the school had a camera, she was provided plentiful support to explore her interests. Rural areas provide rich scope to be in nature and Chandana did just that; spending time in nature, taking photos, understanding light, distance and camera angles. She was also most excited when doing photography and spent happy hours clicking away! These are valuable skills she picked up.

We hope Chandana continues to pursue her interest and get even better at it. We’re happy to see that this provided her with self confidence in her abilities, which is invaluable in any aspect of life!

Yes for Yoga!

A high quality education with high quality teaching standards requires well trained teachers. We are very proud of our teachers who put in a lot of effort to better their teaching practice through attending teacher training sessions onsite and offsite. They do this so that the classroom environment is engaging and children learn in meaningful ways.  This then necessitates that the well being of our hardworking teachers is looked after and we do this with yoga and meditation.

Matendla School was the venue of a yoga workshop by noted yoga therapist, Ms. Kamala and Ms. Karishma, who worked closely with the teachers to teach them yoga asanas, postures and breathing techniques. The teachers took to the session with the same dedication that we see in the other training sessions they attend. The teachers report that yoga helps them feel much better physically and mentally, which in turn helps their teaching too! We are truly happy to see that most of our teachers have created a daily yoga practice and do sessions with the students too! We are also very grateful to our community of supporters who help us with our needs in so many ways.

The Power of Community and Technology

It’s May and educational institutions are closed for summer vacations. However this is also preparation time for EAMCET and NEET students. The RDF VAPV Junior College students come from many villages surrounding Kalleda, so coming to college everyday is not an option for those who don’t live in surrounding areas. Here’s where the beauty of community and shared goals have melded with the power of technology in order to provide support to every 2nd Year Intermediate student who’s preparing for the EAMCET and NEET exams.

The Junior College has put in a lot of effort to set up a fully functioning Computer Lab. Despite power issues, backup power supply and internet connectivity was established to make online study seamless and accessible for our rural students. This lab has been kept open all summer. Students from nearby villages make use of this fully equipped lab morning and evening. Their lecturers are providing full support by coming to college to provide coaching. Students who cannot travel are being supported via email and phone by the teachers, plus use of their smartphones for access web material.

We are immensely grateful to our in-person teachers and online teaching resources that are helping all our students during this busy study period.

Synchrony-sed English Development Efforts!

Learning English is remote, rural areas is a very challenging task. With Telugu being the native language and there being no usage of English in a child’s natural environment, a lot of effort is taken to implement English in RDF schools and teach it in ways that students are able to retain the new language skills that they’re learning.

We are very fortunate that the need to learn English in today’s global environment is understood by RDF’s supporters and that more effort is required to implement English in a rural school. One of our long term supporters has been Synchrony Financial who has helped us in innumerable ways for over 10 years! In order to help enhance English skills in our schools, Synchrony Financial set up an English Language lab 3 years ago in Kalleda School, equipped with computers, language software and electricity back up. This lab is changing the lives of the children and teachers through giving them access and exposure to innovative English enhancement programmes in a high quality facility!

Over the years, several employees and senior management have visited the school and most recently, the school was honoured to receive Mr. Ravi Kiran. He spent the day observing the work in the lab and was shown the lab maintenance registers. The children happily informed him on how much their English skills are improving through better grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence formation. They told him they feel less inhibited and more confident about using English.

Mr. Ravi Kiran was pleased with this progress and reported feeling good that the lab is being used effectively by the school and his interaction showed that everyone is indeed getting better at expressing themselves in English!

 

 

 

A Community of Support

RDF’s Midday Meal programme has been crucial to the physical and mental development of our rural children and the local community recognises and supports this initiative actively. The children receive a free midday meal each day of the school year which includes unlimited servings of rice, dal and a local and seasonal vegetable. 5 years back, RDF had to stop serving a daily egg with the meal due to funds shortage. However, many people have stepped forward to provide an egg during ‘Annadanam’, which allows an individual or organisation to recognise and honour an important life event.

The local, rural community, despite being farmers or small scale workers themselves, also actively helps the schools. In Rollakal School, some villagers have funded Annadanam with eggs! The Village Committee also provides a midday meal with chicken once a year. They also help by contributing to the school infrastructure and activities and doing their best to encourage students by providing smalls gifts to boost their education. This deep level of engagement is why we call ourselves the RDF Community, where stakeholders have the best interests of each other at heart and despite living humbly and coming from underprivileged backgrounds, the depth of their support and social responsibility for RDF’s progress is amazing!