Archive for the ‘Donors & Partners’ Category

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!

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The Story of Spunky Shubham

Shubham is a sweet, little 8 year old, studying in Class 3 in the TMF-RDF partnership school, Mandal Parishad Primary School, Bahadurapally. Now a darling of the teachers, who always has a huge smile on his face, Shubham had a rough start in the school.

Born in rural Maharashtra, his parents decided to move to Hyderabad in order to have a better quality of life, after suffering tremendously in drought ridden districts in Maharashtra. The move was of course upsetting for little Shubham who had to leave his extended family and friends behind. Not knowing the local Telugu language also made his transition to life in Bahadurapally difficult. His parents procured jobs soon enough – his father works as a lorry driver, while his mother works as an ‘ayah’ in a local college on daily wages.

On joining MPPS, Shubham felt quite lost in the early months. He could not follow anything in class, hence could not keep up with his classmates and the syllabus. The language barrier also proved tough for him, resulting in his not being able to speak, read or write and understand what anyone was saying! But Shubham is a spunky guy – he earnestly tried to understand and learn what he could and he managed to pass with average marks – a great effort for someone who didn’t really understand what was going on in class!

Shubham (exteme L), happy at play with his friends

We have to point out that the teachers extended a lot of patience towards him, letting him learn at his own pace, understanding that he will learn when he’s comfortable and integrates better into the school and local environment. Once he was in Class 2, he began to understand some Telugu and English words and letter. He also began to make friends, which made him really happy. He became more participative in class, enjoying play time with his new friends and also working hard at reading and writing. Over a period of time, he began to pick up the language and express himself as best as he could to his teachers and classmates.

Shubham (L), the carrom champ!

We are proud to say that Shubham has adjusted well – his strong spirit and the supportive environment created by his teachers going a long way in helping him become the confident boy he is today. If you would like to see Shubham, you will find him intensely playing carom – a game he loves! His parents are very relieved to see him as he is today and are very grateful to RDF and TMF staff for providing whatever Shubham needed in order to blossom. Shubham has vowed to study in MPPS till he completes Class 10 because he loves the school! What better testimonial towards a school other than the transparent love expressed by a child?!

An Extraordinary Turnaround

Little Abdul, posing

We love to share stories of change from the RDF community as well as from the Bahadurapally Government schools that are part of a quality education initiative between RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation. We love to hear and share stories of how children are blossoming in the school environment, especially because of the painstaking work that has been spent on training teachers on how to build rapport with children and encourage child centric methodologies.

Asleep in class!

Abdul Salam is an orphan who was sent to study in the Mandal Parishad Primary School by the Shishu Vihar orphanage. When he first joined the school, he was lackluster. He didn’t participate in any classroom activities or even extra curricular ones; he only liked playing in the mud, wander around the school corridors and sleep. There were also some behavioural issues such as disturbing the class, rudeness, not listening to teachers’ instructions and lack of proper hygiene in using the toilet. In any other school, he would have been reprimanded, punished or asked to leave. But his teachers did not do so.

They showed a tremendous amount of patience and care towards him. They understood his background and life circumstance and how hard his life had been. So they gave him total freedom to go in and out of the class as per his wish. He was allowed to sit, sleep, read or do anything that interested him while in class. They also taught him to how use the toilet properly. Hence, over a period of time, he began trusting his teachers and classmates and his behavior changed for the better. Now he participates in class, enjoys playing with his friends rather than being alone and speaks well – he loves to recite stories and rhymes and has become so friendly that every teacher wants to chat with him!

Engrossed in work with a classmate

What better testament as to how teachers’ attitudes have a strong influence on a child? Abdul has had a complete turnaround and we couldn’t be happier to see him as the bright, sincere boy that he really is!

The Silver Oak Tree Nourishing RDF!

Silver Oaks, an international school in Hyderabad has been helping RDF schools in multiple ways for over a decade! This relationship has blossomed and grown stronger by leaps and bounds each year, which has hugely contributed to RDF’s work with rural, underprivileged children.

The Silver Oaks management and staff have created a sense of compassion in the students towards rural children through awareness activities and school visits. Each year, not only the management and staff, but also the students have been saving money to donate to RDF. They have initiated a unique programme called ‘Coins for Our Country’ – a fundraising drive, wherein students saved money from their pocket money for RDF’s cause. Other creative ways that have been employed are organizing bazaars, doing chores, creating art etc. This year, we received Rs. 10, 00,000 from the school! We truly feel blessed at the empathy and effort of the Silver Oaks community!

In addition, they also organize regular teacher training programmes for our teachers in order to improve their teaching skills and employ child friendly activities to build a fun and engaging classroom environment. Recently, Maths teachers from our schools visited Silver Oaks to interact with their Maths teachers. They sat in and observed their classes, interacted with the students and learnt interesting ways to teach the subject. Some RDF students also accompanied the teachers, in order to observe the school practices and meet the students.

Our teachers and students feel very motivated with this level of support and mentoring. The Maths teachers were quite excited about their visited and are already implementing the new methods they learnt for teaching and learning of Maths. In this way, we are working hard, with the constant support of our well wishers like Silver Oaks School, in order to provide our deserving students and teachers with an energetic learning environment

Republic Day Celebrations

MPPS Bahadurapally had a grand celebration on the occasion of India’s 69th Republic Day on 26th January 2018. Students and staff prepared an excellent event, practicing songs, dance and speeches for many days! The Chief Guest was Mr. Mallaiah – the Chairman of the school’s SMC. The programme started with the hoisting of the National Flag by the Village Sarpanch and other members of the village development committee.

Students of Classes 1 – 5 then presented their well thought out and colourful songs and dances which enthralled the audience. Parents and other villagers were present in full attendance to watch the children’s enthusiastic performances. Staff and students gave speeches in both Telugu and English, which made everyone very proud, given that public speaking and presenting in English has been a challenge which is being overcome through various forms of training.

There was also a prize distribution ceremony, in which the Headmaster invited the parents to give away the prizes. The prizes, sponsored by TMF and RDF, comprising of games and sports equipment, stationery and snacks, were given away for student achievements in sports, extracurricular activities and academics. Children were thrilled with their prizes as they can be utilized in their school work.

The day ended with bananas being distributed to everyone and conveying our heartfelt thanks to the support of TMF and RDF staff, as well as the parents and the village community.

Teachers’ Skill Development

RDF has been partnering with Tech Mahindra Foundation for the past 4 years in order to improve the quality of education in 2 Government schools that TMF has adopted. The School Quality Improvement Program (SQIP) involves RDF planning and implementing best practices to enhance the teaching and learning environment in Zilla Parishad High School and Mandal Parishad Primary School in Bahadurapally. An integral part of this approach is the skill development of government school teachers through visiting RDF schools and being mentored and trained by senior staff from RDF schools. This is an established practice in all RDF schools, wherein teachers visit other schools to observe classes and processes in order to share and learn from one another. This fosters a spirit of team work and harmony amongst schools, teachers and children.

Introductions during morning assembly

School observation accompanied by MS coordinators

As part of this skill development and learning initiative, 4 government teachers from MPPS and 8 RDF teaching staff from RDF schools visited Matendla School in Siddipet district. They observed the morning assembly which also provided an opportunity for the visitors to introduce themselves to the school. The children presented songs and stories as a special activity during the assembly to welcome the visitors.  The unique clapping system was really appreciated by everyone.

Examining the Word Wall

Classroom observation

Thereafter, accompanied by school coordinators, the visiting staff observed classroom teaching, sports activities, kitchen garden, kitchen and libraray. The display work in the classrooms and corridors attracted the attention of visitors especially in the pre primary block. They admired the ideas and creativity of the students. The teachers were mesmerized by the display of well organized behaviour of the staff and the students during leisure time and the midday meal.

 Each visiting member shared their observations, experiences and expressed a wish to implement some of the best practices like – systematic clapping, encouraging individual talent like dancing, singing, display work, following road rules in the school corridors using colour cones as dividers, using ice cream sticks to call student by name (names are written on the sticks), Word Tree to develop English vocabulary etc.

As a token of appreciation, one of the Government teachers, Mrs. Chinnamma offered biscuits to children and another teacher, Mr. Surendar, announced that the students scoring 10 out of 10 in the board examinations will be gifted with a cash award of Rs 2000.

We are happy that this program gives an opportunity to empower teachers to reach out and learn from one another, work together for everyone’s benefit. We are glad that the years spent in promoting and implementing such a practice is bearing rich fruit and that the culture of sharing and learning is extending beyond RDF schools.

 

 

Our Role in Enrollment

The Telangana Government has launched the ‘Professor Jaya Shankar Badibata Programme’ which aims to drive enrollment levels in schools by motivating and encouraging families to enroll school age children and school dropouts to join neighbourhood government schools.

ZPHS students in the school enrollment rally in Bahadurapally

As part of this initiative, students of the Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Zilla Parishad High School, along with staff from ZPHS and the Mandal Parishal Primary School, conducted an awareness program and rally in and around the village of Bahadurapally.

Students, as spokespersons of their school, spoke to parents to encourage them to send their children to school, giving details about the high quality of education and facilities that are being provided as part of the school improvement partnership between TMF and RDF.

Students talking to the local community during the drive

The villagers responded positively and were found to be aware of best practices being implemented both the government schools through existing parents and children.

With many school age children still not in school and school dropouts getting marginalized in society; such initiatives are crucial to helping families making an informed decision to send their wards to school.