Archive for September, 2019

Save Birds, Save Nature

A small pond on campus for small animals & birds

The RDF VAPV Junior College prides itself on the environmental awareness it strives to create in its students, in order to help student develop in a multidimensional way. The college community has been doing a lot of work to conserve local flora, fauna and birds by planting trees in campus which has increased the green cover and biodiversity, including putting up bird feeders.

Drawing submitted for the bird themed competition

 

 

In order to deepen awareness, they have formed a club called ‘Birds Club’ which includes 5 boys, 5 girls and a lecturer. The students collect photos, including taking photos themselves and want to create a local Birds Gallery. Through this, they are learning about bird species that are on the endangered list such as the vulture which is ecologically important.

 

 

 

 

The group conducted a painting and drawing competition on the theme of birds to generate further interest in their work. There was a tremendous response from everyone. This competition helped many more students realise the need to protect birds. They have now taken on the responsibility to help promote ways to protect local species among the local community too. We hope their concerted and conscientious effort pays off.

Volleying for our Teachers!

Teaching is an invigorating and challenging profession. RDF teachers are very dedicated and always going above and beyond their duties, to ensure a vibrant learning environment for their students. Hence, looking after them – their rest and recreation; honouring their contribution, is very important to us.

To this end, a sports day is conducted for teachers once a month in Matendla School with the help of the senior school children. The children take this responsibility to organize a fun day for their teachers very seriously! In September, Volleyball was the chosen sport. The teachers were divided into team, with the students acting as umpires.  Some teachers didn’t know how to play the game, but the other teachers and students patiently explained the game and they did their best.

The teachers reported feeling energized and mentally refreshed. Like their students, the lesson of team spirit and collaboration went deeper. All in all, it was a great day for the teachers and the students too!

Traditional Wisdom in a Modern World

Kids engrossed in a simple game with stones

Education and school brings the world to the doorstep of the rural children we work with. It helps them understand the world and learn ways of engaging with it. While the aim is to provide them with a quality of education that empowers them with skills and tools to lead independent lives and be free of poverty, simultaneously, we also ensure that they remain rooted in traditional practices and wisdom too.

A ‘talipot’ thatched hut

As the current generation is living in a dizzying digital age, with its impact penetrating rural areas as well, we encourage our students to play traditional games too. As cities get more urbanized and electrified, our students see their families build homes with natural materials such as the ‘talipot’, a native palm variety, used to build thatched houses that keep their homes naturally cool in summer.

They see and learn animal domestication, with the cow being worshipped and being a provider for milk and cow dung. Washing their house with cow dung once a week ensures protection from mosquitoes, insects and flies – so much better than chemical based disinfectants! Rearing hens is common and a source of income for rural families.

With widespread degradation of the environment, rural wisdom teaches our students about how to live in harmony with nature and her creations. There is so much that they learn from their elders, in addition to what they learn in school. It’s no surprise that our students are very eco conscious and green activists, an attitude and ability that we hope they carry into their future too!

Hands-On Health & Hygiene

RDF is using its best practices that have created a positive impact in the lives of rural children and in its school, in its Tech Mahindra Foundation (TMF) partnership primary school too.

Health and Hygiene form a very important component to life in school. Teachers and selected student body representatives teach and monitor several aspects of health and hygiene such as the cleanliness of washrooms, wearing slippers to use toilets, how to flush after using the toilet and washing hands and legs with soap. By rotations, students monitor the cleanliness and personal hygiene habits of the children.

A high level of hygiene is also maintained during food preparation, lunch and snack times. Children are taught to wash their hands before and after eating, rinsing their mouth to avoid bad odour, then washing their plates without wasting water. Food is prepared by the non teaching staff using strict cleanliness code, including preparing nourishing and healthy food using local produce either from the school’s own garden or sourced from nearby farmers.

This focus goes a long way in preserving a clean and healthy environment in the school, one which invigorates the body and mind! Who doesn’t love a clean environment to study in, reflecting the care of the entire school community?

Sport-on!

Manoj & Chinni’s win in a local newspaper

Rollakal School began as a small school with the shade of trees being makeshift classrooms. It has come a long way, with the cheery white school building and the spacious grounds taking pride of place in the local community. The grounds have been put to excellent use to develop sports abilities in our students, with school students achieving many wins in various sports.

Class 4 students are given special training every year in order to gain admission in State run sports schools. Admission means the children’s tuition, boarding, lodging and sports coaching is 100% covered by the State Government. Ambala Chinnu and Solithi Manoj are 2 proud students who have made it to the Hakimpet Sports School, after a State Level selection that had students from 33 districts participate and compete for admission! Chinnu’s and Manoj’s fathers are toddy tappers which only provide them with a meager income. Chinnu’s father also had an accident when he fell from a palm tree which doesn’t allow him to do much work. Thus the burden of providing for the entire family has fallen on his mother.

Chinni, at home, with his proud parents

With their education and sports training taken care of, both families feel relieved and look forward to their career in sports and a better life, free from financial burdens.

Epic Learning!

Learning becomes meaningful and powerful when there is a context to it, especially if the urge to learn rises organically. Here is a beautiful note from the Class 9 students of Kalleda School about a recent field trip that ignited something surprising!

The Sloka singing group

“One day, we, studying in 9th class went to Shivalayam temple in our village. We listened to some Bhagavath Geetha slokas, we liked the tone, the way of singing and the melody of the slokas. It made our mind peaceful. Since then we have been curious to learn slokas.  We approached our in-charge and Telugu master and requested them to provide facilities to learn Bhagavath Geetha slokas.  They recognized our curiosity and helped us to learn slokas.  Every day we practiced an hour after school, with the help of audio and our Telugu master.  We learned 20 slokas with meaning and we can now sing them, with meaning.  We learned one slokam every week. Recently we participated in Mandal level Bhagavath Geetha slokas parayanam competition and won the first prize.  According to our forefathers, these slokas play when some once passed away but we thought that these slokas can play everywhere and on every occasion.  Now we are trying to sing 30 slokas to go to the next level.”

Learning a new language, in this case, Sanskrit, also ignites areas of the brain which lead to more creative development and expression. We admire their zest and confidence to express their opinion that sloka singing can be done on many occasions! We can feel the beauty of the students’ experience and the path that their curiosity is taking them.