Archive for the ‘Environmental Consciousness’ Category

A Special Birthday

Birthdays are typically days of celebration for children, who look forward to being with friends and family and receiving blessings and gifts from their families.

However, when Kanikonda Akhil, a student of Rollakal School, turned 14 years old recently, he decided to do something different. Concerned about the environment and inspired by the efforts being made in all RDF schools to bring awareness about environment conservation, Akhil decided to plant a sapling in his school on his birthday. He also gave a speech on his birthday, urging everyone to do something concrete that will help the environment.

The students and teachers appreciated his gesture and many students took a pledge to plant a sapling on their birthday too! Even the teachers were inspired by his thoughtfulness and they too decided to follow suit and plant a sapling on their birthday! Everyone agreed that contributing to protecting the environment was a much better way to celebrate a birthday and this planet too, rather than spending money on buying a cake and chocolates.

We are very touched by Akhil’s concern for the environment and are very proud that he took inspiration from RDF’s Social Awareness Programs and felt empowered to make his birthday a unique event for everyone. These are the waves of changes from the next generation that we see being birthed through RDF students’ inspiring actions!

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Immersion in New Traditions

Vinayak Chaturthi is a huge festival across the length and breadth of India; celebrated in a multitude of ways by the ardent followers of Lord Ganesha.

In recent years, there has been widespread coverage on the damage done to river systems and other water bodies due to the immersion of POP idols. Sadly, many people continue this ritual despite the sustainable alternative of using clay being easily available. At the same time, we are happy to see many groups using clay idols to venerate Lord Ganesha.

RDF schools have been making clay idols for 10 years, including getting the larger community involved. This year, the students and staff made clay idols together and distribute these idols to villagers. The children, as in previous years, with the strong belief and desire to make sustainable changes, went around surrounding villages to motive villagers to only use clay idols.

It was amazing to see the dexterity with which the kids shaped and moulded the idols and the enthusiasm with which they approached their elders and community to become more aware and conscious citizens, rather than blindly follow rituals. They were able to convert those resistant to the idea of making such a change. Such is the power of belief and conviction for the greater good of society!

On the day of the immersion, the children sang many songs and performed traditional dances on the festive journey to immerse their idols in the local lake and tank. We have seen the positive impact these efforts have brought in the lives of staff and children – right from understanding their role in protecting the environment, to team work and rallying people to a just cause, to using their creative and artistic abilities to fashion beautiful clay idols and seeing the outcome of their positive attitude on the larger community. These real life experiences and skills cannot be learnt in a classroom – they come from engaging and empowering individuals to ‘be the change they want to see in the world’!

Of Richness in Spirit and Biodiversity

This planet, that we call our Mother, needs a lot of effort and help from her citizens. Every little bit counts as popularized by the saying, “A million drops make the ocean”. We feel a sense of pride when we see RDF’s underprivileged children; living in remote and rural areas, take up the cause to help our planet. Their generosity of time and spirit makes us feel hopeful that the future is in capable hands.

The conscientious students of the RDF VAPV Junior College have been working very hard at keeping their campus green. Concerned about the diminishing green cover and the effect that this has on the biodiversity of a region, the students and staff have planted nearly 116 different types of fruit trees over the years. These trees and plants not only bring glorious colour and a vibrant feel to the campus, but the trees laden with fruit and berries are a magnet for an ever increasing variety of birds, insects and ground animals are taking up residence here.

So our ecologically sensitive and compassionate students decided to prepare wire nests and water pools for these creatures. Dividing themselves into groups, they assiduously prepared the nests and bowls and placed them in various trees and bushes. The number of birds and animals flocking to this green paradise is a sight to behold!

We believe that several small initiatives by small groups like these can really go a long way to bring  biodiversity and green cover back to a region. We really hope this kind of effort can have an inspirational and ripple effect!

 

Celebrating the Environment

The young children of the Mandal Parishad Primary School showed their sensitivity towards environmental issues by independently planning and organizing a ‘Green Day’ in the school.

The HM addressing the audience on the importance of conservation

The day started with a special school assembly dedicated to the importance of living in harmony with nature and the detrimental effects of managing human consumerism which leads to trees and forests being felled. Then the students led an awareness march through the village of Bahadurapally, since community engagement is a serious social responsibility that is a cornerstone of all RDF’s work and has naturally been implemented in MPPS too.

Students engrossed in the drawing competition

The enterprise shown by the children was amazing – right from planning the entire day’s activities to executing themed events on the day such as an essay competition on ‘The Importance of Trees’ , student speeches on ‘Greening the Environment’, singing and art events.

The children also planted saplings throughout the campus, along with the teachers and have taken on the responsibility of looking after the plants. A prize distribution ceremony concluded the day, with the winners in the various contents and all students being commended for their effort.

We are very proud of this initiative and the commitment these young and aware leaders have shown on the importance of conservation!

Rural Learning, Global Training!

The quality education partnership between RDF & Tech Mahindra Foundation got another feather in its cap through the achievements of it students in a local essay comptetion.

Getting to a point of competing in an event that involved not just writing in English, a language students in rural and semi rural areas have limited exposure to; but also to utilise higher level thinking skills, in order to write a comprehensive essay was no mean task. Till just as recent as 2 years back, these students would not have had the confidence or the ability to write or compete in English. The intensive efforts that have been made in this partnership, implemented with the encouragement of the RDF team and the local teachers are paying dividends!

An essay writing competition was conducted in which students of the Zilla Parishad High School and other schools in the area participated with enthusiasm.  The topic for the competition was “Global Warming“.  Children’s participation was overwhelming and the innovative ideas and knowledge about the real concern of ‘global warming’, among the children was appreciable.

The winners were presented with medals and participation certificates. In this context, the school staff and RDF voluntary staff deputed for ARISE project of the Tech Mahindra Foundation were applauded for their contribution in providing high quality education standards for the children. Here are the students who got medals with appreciation certificates –

L-R: M. Mounika – Class 9, Y. Saivarun – Class 7, T. Sunitha – Class 8

Through this partnership, it is the aim of both RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation to provide the best facilities to children from deprived backgrounds, whose families struggle to even send their children to school. For children from remote rural and semi rural areas to research, read, think and analyse events and topics that are global in nature, is truly amazing! It just goes to show how meaningful engagement with staff and students can empower them in such leaps and bounds!

 

Future Sense

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children” ~ Anonymous 

A pond on campus, a watering hole for birds & small creatures alike

In times long long ago, now nearly forgotten, when lessons were taught under trees, the creatures of nature formed a part of learning from nature & living with nature. With abundant greenery, one can imagine the richness of bird and insect species that would have made the trees, grass & shrubs their home. Sadly, with depleting green cover, it is becoming rarer to find a diversity of such creatures or native trees, flowers, shrubs and herbs.

 

Butterfly varieties that flock to the abundant flowers & shrubs

 

We are proud that the RDF VAPV Junior College is making effort & taking responsibility for greening their campus. The over 400 varieties of plants and trees are providing shelter, the fruits are providing sufficient food & it is a delight to watch birds, butterflies and bees hover near the sweet corn and sunflower plants!

Water bowls, placed under trees

They have also created open pads and water bowls on the trees. Several varieties of birds flock to these resting places, savouring the sweet corn and fruit varieties.

They strongly believe that it is our responsibility to protect the biodiversity in areas that we reside in, for the sake of the future generations.