Archive for the ‘Empower’ Category

Teachers bagged it!!

It’s a unique quality when teachers put in effort in order for their students to feel at comfortable and happy in school. At RDF, we pride ourselves in creating an enriching and invigorating environment in our schools, which has come about due to our belief in a holistic and nurturing approach to education, which applies equally to teachers and students! Since the teachers feel cared for, its natural that they do the same for the students too.

A fun balancing act!

Fun in the playground

In Matendla School, teachers conducted a day full of surprise activities for the children. The only hint they gave them was to say, “Don’t bring your bags to school tomorrow!” The kids were agog with excitement! Mr. Rajireddy, a teacher in the school was put in charge to organise ‘funny games’ for Primary school. He spent several days planning and designing funny games, putting in a lot of effort! The students participated in the funny games amidst a lot of laughing, giggling and talking, which created a buzzing environment in the school!

For the High School children, the school conducted 3 different activites in Telugu, English and Maths. In Telugu and English, groups of students were given short story books, which they had to analyse and make interesting questions in an allocated time of 1 hour. Then the students had great fun posing their questions to one another. It was interesting that many students created questions that needed higher order thinking skills, rather than answers which could be easily found in the story. In the Maths round, the teachers conducted an MNS (Minimum Numerical Skills) test which was introduced by the Vandemataram Foundation. Again, the kids were very curious and solved the problems eagerly – a nice sight to see!

In this way, the team strives to create a positive impact for the children and the community. On this ‘no bag’ day, children were exposed to a variety of new information using interesting games and techniques. Every student enthusiastically participated in all the activities and they showed their prowess at problem solving and creative thinking!

Well done to all the teachers for inspiring the students to show their best and putting together a fun day of learning and play! In this way, RDF schools are always giving scope to children to learn new information and implementing it in their lives. Learning from textbooks and rote education are stifling to learning and creativity. Teachers seriously endeavour to go beyond textbooks and as an NGO, the schools are really working towards building each child’s innate interest, quality and talent!

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Bala Sabha

Showing off dance skills!

Melodious singing

A ‘Bala Sabha’ – an ‘Assembly of Children’ was conducted for the very first time in RDF Rollakal School! Though RDF schools are student centric and children are empowered in their daily activities to think and speak freely through the creation of a nurturing and invigorating school environment, this event was special because it was planned and executed ENTIRELY by children! The school staff was amazed with the ease with which the event was conducted, which shows the level of responsibility, attention to detail and planning that was put into place by these young  children.

Yeah! Yoga!!

Little ones, enacting rhymes

In an ode to a democratic system of functioning, the event was performed by the children, for the children and will be now conducted on the last Saturday of each month. The first of this series was a wonderful programme that showcased children’s talent in areas such as literature, music, dance, folk songs, poetry, skits, mimicry and role plays. Even the prizes were carefully selected by the children, which were distributed by the teachers, who came forward in full support!

A captivating skit!

It was a wonderful learning experience for the children too. Many kids who had stage fear were able to handle it and express their views and feelings to the audience. Because they felt empowered, they were able to overcome their self consciousness and gave everything their very best. They put in tremendous research by reading books, newspapers, articles on the internet and magazines in order to plan their pieces for the programme. The level of enthusiasm with the reigns in their hands was phenomenal!

The success of this programme shows that children, when given the right inputs through a nurturing environment, engaged with as intelligent individuals with a diversity of interests and skills, thrive and then bring forth a sense of responsibility and creativity, such as what we saw in Rollakal School.

Alumni Give Back

RDF alumni come forward to help their former school/college and their communities in many amazing ways. It always touches our hearts to see that these students, coming from generations of economic hardship and poverty have so much to give and are so generous with their time, skills and even their hard earned money!

Vinod, at Army training camp

Vinod Kumar, an alumnus of the RDF VAPV Junior College, was a determined and bright student who was excellent at athletics. He won several medals at the District & State level, including winning ‘Best Athletic Player’ in Telangana. He is also a holder of ‘C’ certificate in NCC. He dreamt of a job where he could use his innate skills and be of service to others. His dream came true when Vinod got 2 offers while in the final year of completing his B.Sc Mathematics – one with the Army and another one with the Telangana State Police as a Police Constable. He chose the former and is now undergoing training in Maharashtra.

Rajasekhar

Vinod strongly believes that the education opportunities that he got at RDF are the reason for his success. He is so grateful for this good turn in his life that he wants others to have the same education opportunities that he did at RDF. In the spirit of giving back and paying it forward, he has promised to sponsor 50% of the education of any deserving student from an underprivileged background! This year, he will sponsor M. Rajasekhar’s education – a hard working boy from a family of labourers. To take such a vow while he’s still in training, is a testament to this young man’s strength of character!

We would like to thank our alumni and current students whose expression of thoughtfulness in a myriad ways help make their communities stronger and better!

Ramu’s Inspirational Story..

Life is not easy for RDF children who come from families that have suffered generations of financial and social hardship. Yet, time and again, we see in them, a resilient spirit that makes them push themselves to do the best they can. They take advantage of all the opportunities being provided in RDF schools in order to achieve their goals of completing higher education and having a good career.

Ramu, with family in his thanda

Ramu, an alumnus of RDF Kalleda School belonged to a typical RDF family. He hailed from a Lambada tribe and cycled 5 km to school daily from Seethya thanda to his school. His parents eked their living as farm and daily wage labourers. Ramu loved school and felt that the world was brought closer to him through textbooks and watching documentaries and videos with his teachers. He didn’t feel isolated in his remote thanda. “I always knew that I do well in school and for that I was willing to sacrifice the small joys of growing up”, he once profoundly told his teachers. During holidays, he worked on farms too, in order to financially support his family. He even insisted that some of his earnings go towards his education – this high level of self responsibility and perseverance is a characteristic we see in many of our rural children. In Class 10, his hardwork and his positive attitude ensured that he came out with flying colours, obtaining the 1st rank in the Mandal with a 9.5 GPA!

(L) Being sworn in as Head Boy, (R) As MEO, during ‘model elections’

Explaining a Science exhibit to school visitors

Young children like Ramu create a positive impact on the school, the students and the community because people like him demonstrate how one’s attitude towards life can alter its course. It demonstrates the values of determination, hardwork, sacrifice and working towards achieving ones goals – these are inspirational values for other children to imbibe. These are values that are lived by students, teachers and many members of the rural communities that we serve and these are values that we actively promote in our schools.

Students like Ramu inspire us to work even harder to ensure that RDF institutions remain inspiring and enriching spaces for children to feel cared for and blossom into their best potential!

A Win for Avinash!

Avinash presents a cheerful personality when he’s in college. His classmates at the RDF VAPV Junior College know him as a likeable, hardworking boy. Hardworking he is, however it comes at the cost of not having any time to himself to pursue other interests and passions.

Avinash’s father was an alcoholic who died when he was in Class 8. Since then, his mother, a daily wage labourer has been singlehandedly supporting him and his sister, who studies in Class 8 in a private school. His mother is very keen to see both of them complete their higher education and get good jobs so that their life can be more settled and balanced.

Avinash is a resilient boy and he has worked in the fields even during his school days in order to support the family. He has slogged to do well in college, while putting in hours of working on farms too. His determination and perseverance ensured that he cleared 1st year intermediate in 2nd division – a result he was happy with, as were his teachers.

This year, during summer vacation, he wanted to earn more and went to Warangal in search of work. He finally found work as a waiter in a small hotel. His monthly income was Rs. 4000. After putting in long hours for the entire summer vacation, he handed over Rs. 10,000 to his mother. She was very proud of her son, but even this amount is insufficient to run their lives, but they’re not complaining.

Avinash says, “I want to educate myself well and get a good job. Our life is hard and I understand this kind of life. So when I am well settled, I will give jobs to those who are poor and unemployed.” Given how many RDF alumni have given back to their communities through monetary help or voluntary work, we are quite sure he will fulfil his life goals and keep his promise.

We love how, despite their economic hardships, our rural children continue to think of others benefit and being socially responsible! It is a very humbling experience for us! Avinash, we are so proud of you and your spirit and noble thoughts touch our hearts! You are a winner!

The Spirit for Sports

RDF puts in a lot of work to go beyond classroom education and arm children with real life skills that will benefit them. Therefore, a lot of effort is put into training teachers, who in turn, mentor children to develop skills that can truly help them in higher education and careers, thus providing them with tools to break the bonds of poverty that they live in. One such route is through sports coaching. We are extremely proud to have produced several District, State, National and even International level players in various sports. All credit goes to the excellent coaching provided by the Physical Education Teachers and the determination and perseverance of students to put in the hard yards and do the very best they can.

Recently, 7 students from RDF Rollakal School participated in Sports School selection competition in Hanamkonda at JNS Stadium. We are very happy that 6 students were selected to the State level Sports School competition. Every year, RDF children make it in sports schools across the state where they can focus on sports and academics together, ultimately getting an entry in Government jobs – a stable source of income and financial freedom for the family!

We feel really happy at the achievement of our students and appreciate the hard work being put in the school’s PET, a well trained teacher, who works patiently with the children each day, giving guidance and instructions concerning every game and sport being played by the children. You can see the dedication from the children, as young as Primary School level, when they come in before school and stay back after school to practice, without being asked to! Now that is motivation!

Such selections have a positive impact on the entire community because other students feel inspired and the ripple effect ensures that they too start focusing more on sports! In addition, time spent outdoors is good for the body, mind and spirit – therefore an atmosphere of good health is also created.

We look forward to the bright future of all these children, who so richly deserve the best that life can offer them!

The Games Children Play!

Given a chance, everyone would play, not just children, but adults too! But to children, play comes naturally and encouraging this natural instinct is something we wanted to do for all RDF children. Therefore, creating playgrounds and encouraging indoor and outdoor games and sports is something we take seriously, pun not intended!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of stress being created in schools where play time is seen as a waste of time. Even in rural areas, we see children spend more time playing games on their phones, than play outdoors. But RDF kids get plenty of opportunities to play as we know that classroom based education, while an important part of the curriculum, is not sufficient to create healthy and happy individuals.

Children come in before school to play badminton, football, volleyball and cricket and do the same after school too. They voluntarily choose to spend their leisure time at play, either outside or indoors. Games build crucial physical and mental fitness. Instead of being indoors, cooped up for long hours, our children get plenty of break time, stretch their muscles and flex their mental muscles too! They say it’s one reason why they love coming to school so much. Many times, teachers join in on the fun too!

In the photos, children of Redlawada School are seen having a great time on the swings that were recently placed in the playgrounds. We love the sound of laughter or the sight of focused silence as children ponder their carom or chess boards! Seeing such vitality makes us feel good about the work we do! Happy kids, happy teachers, happy us!!