Archive for March, 2020

Leading her Future

Harshita, helming a class project and helping her classmates

Very often in schools, there is tendency to see children through the lens of their academic performance only; labelling them as intelligent or slow learners. However, children, like all people have many merits that extend beyond their academic capabilities. RDF teachers receive regular training in order to identify the many talents or behaviours in students that can be honed.

A natural leader and speaker

Receiving the top prize for her performance in a play

Harshita is a Class 9 student in the RDF-Tech Mahindra Foundation partnership Zilla Parishad High School, Bahadurapally. Her father is an auto driver while her mother is a housewife. Her parents dream big for her, wanting for her, what all parents from underprivileged backgrounds desire – a better life for their kids through education. But Harshita doesn’t always perform well academically. However, her teachers see many great qualities in her which will serve her well in life – she’s good at sports, is honest and courageous and goes out of her way to be helpful to her classmates, other students and her teachers too. She has earned renown for her leadership qualities, taking initiative and responsibilities willingly with a smile in several activities. She is known for tackling problems head-on, be they personal or others’.

Aren’t responsibility, ownership of self and work, problem solving skills, the ability to make decisions and help others, all hallmarks of good leaders and managers? Harshita’s future promises to be bright and whatever she chooses to do, we’re positive, her employers and colleagues will be lucky to have her!

Empowered Self Governance

Self Governance is an empowered way of living and RDF looks at using various teaching-learning methods with the ultimate aim to help our rural students feel empowered.

A student role playing a middle school teacher

Matendla School grandly celebrated Self Governance Day in which Class 10 students role played the school’s teaching and non teaching staff, as well as roles of public representatives. Every student took their role seriously and prepared it well. By actually taking on these roles and their accompanying responsibilities, the children were able to more deeply understand what these roles entail. They shared their experiences with each other. Students who excelled in their roles were given prizes and every participating student was appreciated for their enthusiasm and hard work.

The smiling faces of our Class 10 students on Self Governance Day!

Abhilash, a Class 10 student donated leafy vegetables to the school which were utilised to prepare a scrumptious curry for the midday meal. Some of his other classmates donated sports good to the school. We felt very touched with their contributions and felt happy that they took the responsibility to provide something that the school community needed. Being able to extend themselves beyond their individual needs to look after the community needs is true empowerment, indeed!

Championing Sports and Girl Power!

Anitha, at work, in the fields

Gugulothu Anitha studying in Intermediate 1st Year in the RDF VAPV Junior College is an inspiration to everyone. She belongs to a poor Scheduled Tribes family, the youngest of 3 daughters. Her father was hoping for a boy when she was born and decided to bring her up like a boy. So while traditiona; families such as hers, girls look after household chores and boys help in the field, Anitha has been helping her father in farm work since she was young.

Anitha (5th from L), after winning a tug-of-war championship

However, Anitha is working hard at changing her father’s mindset to show him that girls and boys can do the same work. In Class 10, she started to show an active interest in Tug-of-War and sports such as netball, cricket, mini gold and Wushu. She diligently practiced before and after school, winning 3 medals in National level competitions. The Physical Education Teacher encouraged her interest, which further inspired her.

At a track & field sports meet

She wants to become a National coach and prove that girls are not inferior to boys in any field. It is heartwarming to see her speaking to her father  and showing him, through her accomplishments, to banish his belief that he would have been better off with a son rather than a daughter! We are proud of this empowered and self expressed 16 year old, who has become a role model for many rural girls.

Hardwired to Help!

Community engagement to build a thriving local community network is an integral part of RDF. Over the past 23 years, we have seen the rich dividends of these efforts, with people from near and far coming forward to help RDF schools, in whatever way they can.

Mr. Kishore had a job in the police department but his calling lay in computer hardware. He left his police job to join a hardware company. In his journey, he heard about RDF’s work with rural, underprivileged children and was driven to contribute to our schools. He contacted us through the RDF website and started visiting the Kalleda, Redlawada and Rollkall schools to help with computer issues and hardware problems. He visits the schools twice a month, including attending to computer emergencies and donating hardware parts.

We feel very fortunate to have a selfless people like Mr. Kishore supporting us in an area of need and are proud to call him a member of the RDF family!

Crafting New Skills

Saritha ma’am, preparing workshop materials

Infor, the Multinational technology company, has been supporting RDF for several years. They were instrumental in the construction of a permanent school building for Rollakal School and have initiated many student and teacher development programmes too.

Beautiful decorative items

A team from Infor visited Rollakal School last month to meet with the school community. This visit was made extra special when an Infor team member, Saritha ma’am, taught a creative workshop for children using waste material. The kids were very enthused to learn something new, using discarded plastic and household waste material. They learnt how to make items such as door mats, door curtains, ear rings, hair clips, hair ribbons, rings, necklaces, garlands and decorative boxes!

Stunning jewellery

She urged the students to create awareness in the larger community about the harmful effects of plastic and how to recycle and upcycle it, since plastic can be found everywhere!

Learning new methods of craft and art brings more confidence to our children, as they develop skills that can be used productively in their lives.

Once again, we are very grateful to Team Infor for the innovative workshops they conduct for the betterment of our students!.

A Musical Study!

Nature is a source of wonderful delights, music being one of them! Who knew that the leaves of the toddy palm tree can be fashioned into a musical instrument?

Mahesh, a Class 9 student of Redlawada School, helps his father in the field and learnt how to make this lovely instrument from him. He learnt how to fold and layer the toddy leaves in a specific way, using Arabic Gum thorns to create a wind instrument! It produces a good sound due to the meticulous way that the leaves are layered over each other.

We encourage students to learn traditional arts and crafts such as what Mahesh learnt from his father, as it enhances creativity, which then has a positive ripple effect in other areas of their lives. We believe that technical education helps with their holistic development, enabling them to learn skills beyond classroom education.