Archive for the ‘Educate’ Category

The Right Values

RDF prides itself on the excellent value based education system that forms the fabric of its schools. While academic education certainly has its place, RDF has made tremendous effort to inculcate life skills in its students, placing a lot of value on human relationships.

Cheran (R), feeding Josh

Cheran is 11 years old and studies in Class 6 in Redlawada School. He likes being in school and engages well academically and in extracurricular activities too. He is a natural helper and is always eager to assist. Recently, his younger brother, Josh, injured 2 fingers on his right hand and needed help with everyday tasks. It was big brother, Cheran, who took it upon himself to help Josh as much as he could.

It’s beautiful to see the emphasis on family values in our students. Seeing care in relationships and acts of kindness sets the right example for our students. Social responsibility starts with our personal lives first and then flows in our outer world. In this consumerist world, we hope these are the right values that will enable students to balance all aspects of their lives.

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A Bright Future Beckons!

The RDF-TMF partnership is in its 4th year now and the seeds that were sown in the shape of RDF’s best practices with students and teachers, are blossoming in myriad, beautiful ways. Today we celebrate the lives and stories of some more children from the 2 partnership government schools in Bahadurapally.

Akhil, in a dance-theatre programme

Akhil Chary, now in Class 6, was reluctant to come to school when he joined 3 years back. He used to run away from school and take things from his classmates’ bags! The teachers have been trained in understanding student needs, their psychology and work in ways to get their cooperation. Plus the teachers really care about the wellbeing of their students. So, his teachers extended lots of patience towards him which helped him slowly integrate into the school. Now Akhil is known as the ‘class clown’ making everyone laugh, plus he’s talented at dancing & acting too! Sadly, he’ll be leaving the school soon, though on a happy note, because he’s cleared the Gurukula competitive exam and will be joining their hostel. He’ll be missed and we hope we can see him again soon!

Sunitha (R), at a plantation drive in her school

Sunitha has completed Class 10 from ZPHS this year, with a high GPA of 9.5! An ace student, she also became adept at computers, sports, dancing and acting; all activities that were brought in to develop students holistically. In the kitchen garden, she learnt to grow seasonal produce and took care of the mango and coconut orchards too. The school has put in the miles to develop a robust extracurricular programme for its students, with the intent of recognising and building their skills. Sunitha has learnt multiple skills and with these under her belt, learnt under the able guidance of the school staff, her future looks promising!

We wish both the absolute best that life can offer!

Not Just Recycling Paper!

Running an NGO is very gratifying work, but it comes with its own challenges as well, primarily in the area of costs to keep the schools running. We are very blessed, that over 2 decades, we’ve had many individuals and organisations joining hands with us, to provide high quality and holistic education to rural children.

However, this story is an acknowledgement about how much our school teams also do, in order to cover part of their operating costs or reduce it. One method employed by Matendla School is recycling text books. Students are instructed to look after the text books carefully, so that the same books can be used the following year. This practice has been working well for the past 4 years. In addition to this, well preserved books look lovely with nice covers on them! The children and staff collect newspapers or old covers to be reused. Just before schools reopened this year, the Primary School teachers did an excellent job of collecting old covers and covering all the textbooks for classes KG to 5!

Small drops make an ocean and in this way, every effort made by the schools to look after some of their operating costs goes a long way. Since the schools run transparently, it’s also a great way for the students to become involved in such practices. By being involved at this fundamental level, the knowledge and learning is retained – another step to creating a wholesome learning environment in our schools!

 

Sports Spotting!

Fighting fit!

10 years ago, Redlawada School was a small school, with many classes conducted under the comforting shade of the massive tamarind tree. While there was time to play and engage in physical activities, it has only been in the last few years, with the infrastructure development in the school, that we have seen the school’s sports accomplishments improve and increase. While earlier, Kalleda and Matendla schools were literally ‘running away’ with the medals in mandal and district level competitions, it makes us so happy to see Redlawada School making its mark in the sports arena too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 students participated in the Sub-Junior Taekwondo State level competition in Tandoor. With their daily before and after school practice sessions, we are really proud that they won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals! The school is expanding its sports repertoire too and now the kids are learning fencing, martial arts, yoga, in addition to athletics, volleyball, kho-kho and kabaddi. As part of their focus on building physical stamina and sharpen mental abilities through sports, special training sessions are conducted from 5-6:30 am and again from 6-7:30pm. The effort put in not just by the Physical Education Teacher, but by the entire staff to ensure interest in these sessions is admirable. The children who choose these sessions are also very excited to hone their abilities. They show up daily, determined and sincere to practice. They feel good, as do we, so it’s a win-win for everyone!

Skilling for Life

A session in progress with an SF volunteer at Global Edge School

India has a startling statistic which is that it churns out the highest number of unemployable graduates each year! Rote based education, intense academic focus and little time invested in skill or vocational development is the root cause for this. Children in rural India also have it tougher than their urban counterparts due to poorer infrastructure and little done to develop teachers. However, the story in RDF schools is very different. We are cognizant of this reality of rural education, hence have put in intense effort for over 2 decades to ensure well trained staff and attending to the holistic development of the children, going beyond academic achievements.

Fully engaged!

India’s graduates need employable skills. For rural children, English is paramount, given that it’s not present in the learning environment. Communication, team building, dealing with conflict, cultural differences are other skill areas that we also pay attention to. We feel blessed that we have partners and supports who understand these constraints and customize skilling programmes for our staff and students.

Focused discussion

As part of English Communication Improvement and Personality Development programmes, our students attend a Summer Camp at Global Edge International School, Hyderabad, conducted by Synchrony Financial. This year 42 students came to Hyderabad for this camp. The children had a lot of fun with the Synchrony team who created interesting activities in English focusing on LSRW skills. They also had music and yoga classes. With so much fun and much to do, the 1 month training flew!

We are immensely grateful to the Global Edge team for not only providing the venue each year, but also providing accommodation and drinking water to the participants this year and of course, the Synchrony volunteers for caring about the future of our students and providing them with great activities to groom them for success. RDF has sustained itself for 23 years because of the committed support of such partners.

 

Help for our Feathered Friends

The education curriculum at RDF schools goes far beyond classroom education. Being socially responsible citizens is taught to RDF children from a young age and this expresses itself in various forms that have a positive impact on the local community too.

With summer temperatures soaring, animals and birds bear the brunt of harsh summers even more than humans. The scarcity of water takes its toll on our feathered and furry friends too!

Rollakal School students and teachers felt bad seeing birds flying in search of water and decided to do something to protect them from the heat. They have made water bowls from recycled jerry cans and hung them in the branches of mango trees in the school grounds. The kitchen staff, students and staff always check the water bowls, replenishing them with clean water.

Now they are delighted to see various birds flocking to the bowls to quench their thirst!

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.