Archive for the ‘Empower’ Category

The Importance of Voting

It’s election time in India and as  a part of the ‘Continuous Comprehensive Assessment’ programme, Kalleda School conducted a message oriented activity on ‘Awareness on the Importance of Voting’.

The kids took up a campaign in their community in order to drive home the importance of voting. They urged them, saying, “Your vote is your choice to elect the public representative. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. The power to change our country starts with you single vote.” The main aim of the campaign was to achieve 100% voting in their local communities.

The kids, passionate about creating change, motivated everyone to utilize their vote to elect the right public representative and vote for their progress and development. A group of students also enacted a drama on the voting system! Together, they made an oath to cast their vote, ending with a chant of ‘Vote to Change the Future’.

It is amazing how conversant the students are on social issues and have the passion to create change. It shows a willingness to engage with issues that affect them and create solutions, in their own way, that address the problem – in this case, casting their vote and thinking about how to develop the villages. Well done, teachers and students of Kalleda School on taking up such an important issue and taking the steps to create change!

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Books are our Best Friends

Much is lamented on these days about the loss of reading skills among children and adults alike. While high use of technology and screen time replacing other activities such as being outdoors or reading is still an urban phenomenon, it is reaching rural areas too, mainly due to high mobile phone penetration. However, life for rural children is vastly different to their urban counterparts and books are a very valuable resources for these children. Books open up their minds and their world, plus providing them with crucial reading and literacy skills too.

RDF wellwisher, Mr. Madhav Reddy from Vandemataram Foundation donated library books in Telugu, Hindi and English for Matendla School. Given our schools’ high focus on reading time and book discussions among students and teachers, it was natural for the children to show a lot of interest in reading these new books. Every Saturday and in their free time, children can be found reading these books! Some students have also shared the stories during morning assembly, which shows the benefit and impact the stories have had on them!

In our schools, reading has shown to have considerable impact in improving student’s reading abilities and comprehension of languages too. The stories show them creative ways of writing and an introduction of genres. Their repertoire of stories has certainly increased! By discussion and talking about the stories, they also enhance their confidence and presentation skills. A win-win all around!

This goes to show how the simple activity of book reading has been helping our students in myriad ways and is providing them with the scope to develop themselves in different areas, all of which will support them in their educational and career goals.

For the Love of Poetry

Telugu poets from the Telangana region have been working towards preserving the poetry writing tradition in the vernacular. Groups of poets have also been encouraging new poets in rural areas. To promote the art of Telugu poetry, they organized a programme called ‘Urura Kavisammelanam’ in the RDF VAPV Junior College campus.

Several regional poets read out their poems to much applause and appreciation by the attendees, including the young JC students! G. Susmitha of MPC 2nd Year has been exploring poetry as a medium to express her thoughts and feelings. She was nervous to read out her poems in front of the esteemed guests, but was encouraged by her lecturers and friends. She writes about the importance of parents, friends and the beauty of such relationships. After reading out her poems, she gave her views on the importance of maintaining familial relationships, expressing her sadness when she hears of parents being sent to old age homes, when to her, they are akin to Gods.

Her simple words and heartfelt expression won the hearts of the audience and the guests awarded her a cash prize of Rs. 300, a shawl and a memento. We hope young Susmitha explores poetry writing further and earns a name for herself!

A Whole day of Holistic Interaction!

RDF works very hard to provide resources to its children and teachers in order to aid their growth and development. Living in poverty for generations, we understand the life circumstances and limitations that the community faces and the programmes and mentoring they need to achieve their dreams and goals, as first generation learners. The philosophy also guides the progress of the 2 Tech Mahindra Foundation schools in Bahadurapally, which have come to be regarded as beacons of quality education in the surrounding villages.

The Sri Ramakrishna Foundation (SRK), Bahadurapally conducted a full day session on Life, Aims & Goals, Career, Moral Values, Success and Role of Parents for the students of the Zilla Parishad High School. The main aim was to gently encourage students about how to live in present day society, without fear and lead a life based on their moral values and how to achieve their goals.

The morning session was led by Mr. Bhargava Nagaprasad and Mr. Adiseshu. In addition to the main themes, they specifically spoke about financial difficulties and how to reach their financial goals. Plenty of inspirational examples from real life were given to the students in order to motivate them, such as Dr. Abdul Kalam’s humble roots and achievements.

In the afternoon session, Mr. Bhagicha Singh of TNR Academy and Mr. M.D. Rao were the speakers. Mr. Rao, at 85 years of age, who leads an independent life, proved to be a source of inspiration for everyone present. They also spoke on health issues such as abstaining from ‘gutka’ and alcohol and focus on looking after their parents’ wellbeing and achieve life goals. Mr. Singh spoke about the social problems of female infanticide and education for girls, urging students to encourage women and treat them with respect and preventing exploitation of children through child labour.  They also motivated the students to be of service to the country and help in its progress. Sarath, Jyothi and Vinayaka of Class 6 & 7 respectively were appreciated by the speakers for their confidence and ready answers. Mr. Rao was impressed with another student, Aruna’s thoughtful responses and gave her a cash reward of Rs. 500 on the spot!

TNR Academy gave each of the 247 students present an exam pad, pen, pencil box and notebook! They also promised to provide free coaching to ZPHS students, based on merit. The day ended with positive feedback from the students who felt inspired by the talks and ready for action!

 

Maintaining a Strong Rural Connection

It is humbling for us to see our rural children feel rooted in their environment and derive inspiration from it. In this age of migration to urban centres, in search for better opportunities and financial security, it is really nice to see children feeling connected to their reality and everyday life too.

Bullock carts have been used since the dawn of agriculture as a mode of transport and still flourishes in rural India, supporting the rural agrarian economy. V. Shiva Kumar, a Class 7 student from Rollakal School loves riding in bullock carts! He loves the slow and steady gait of the cart and likes looking after the sturdy ox that pull the carts. So inspired is he with the humble bullock cart, that he decided to make a working model of one from everyday materials found in his home and school.

RDF children are taught about conservation and recycling and take their role in environmental welfare very seriously. All Shiva used was old cardboard, newspaper, sticks, binding wire and pins to create his bullock cart. He didn’t spend any money on this creation. He was so proud of his accomplishment, as are we!

Well done, Shiva, for exemplifying RDF values and feeling proud of your roots. Maintaining this strong connect with rural India is very important for us, even as children graduate school and go to bigger towns and cities for work. We have seen RDF children, time and again, return to help rural communities in myriad ways, as we are sure, Shiva will too!

 

Theatre is Fun!

Theatre is a wonderful way to engage children and adults alike. As a medium, it brings texts and contexts to life to children and is adaptable to kids of any age and acting ability. Performances also gently prod children along the path of confidence and self expression. We have seen, time and again, how much children enjoy theatre and take ownership of the entire production process – the dialogues, memorization, practice and performance – they really come into their own with the magic of theatre!

Class 7 and 8 students of Matendla School got the fantastic opportunity to participate in a District Level Science Drama Festival that was organized by Sadaran India Science Drama Festival 2018. It was first conducted at the Mandal level in Siddipet in which our students won first place and were selected to the District level! They performed on the theme ‘Digital India’, portraying the plight of farmers and farming being affected by the onslaught of technology. The kids enthusiastically put up a brilliant show, along with a song.

The children really got into the skin of the characters and brought the story to life – so it wasn’t just about the acting, but about emoting and expressing themselves too. It was also a great way to delve deeper into the social cause of environment conservation and plight of farmers – issues that are directly impacting their rural communities.

We are proud of the encouragement RDF schools give their students to go beyond classroom learn and explore their talents, skills and environment in more creative ways!

Family Role Play

Role plays are such an interesting way to get children to understand concepts. They also love the experience of preparing and acting – everyone has a hidden performer inside!

The Redlawada School Primary School Social Studies teacher decided to use Role Play for the lesson on Families and Relationships. They children were understandably excited when he put the idea across to them. In true theatre style, he did an audition to match characters from the lesson to students most suited to play them. After some rehearsal, the kids were ready! Needless to say, the kids were absolutely natural! The remaining student had a good time watching them and were able to understand the lesson easily.

What helped the children imbibe their characters easily was also the fact that they are observant. They observe parents, grandparents, the extended family; their role outside the home and in family and social dynamics. ‘Learning through Doing’ is a popular learning method which has yielded great results in RDF schools. We are happy that the teachers look for ways to meaningfully engage with their students and teach lessons in interesting ways. Watching and enacting what they are learning in their text is a surefire way for them to recall key concepts, plus taking inspiration from their own families contextualizes the lesson for them.

Well done – to the teachers and children of Redlawada School – for creating a rich and fun learning environment!