Archive for the ‘Environmental Consciousness’ Category

Clean Villages, Clear Intentions!

Villagers & students, clearing a ground together

Completing school is just one aspect of how RDF engages with its school community. Our education methodology focuses strongly on creating well rounded individuals who care not just on themselves as individuals, but are also inspired to act and create change in the world. This change begins with home.

Social awareness is a vital part of our education and every aspect of what they learn also focuses on how it can help their local, rural communities in positive ways. Inspired by the ‘Swachch Bharat’ (Clean India) campaign instituted by the central and state governments, the students of Matendla School organized an awareness campaign to keep their villages clean. The entire campaign was conceptualized and implemented by the students! The locals participated enthusiastically too and together, they pledged to work together and keep their environment beautiful and clean.

We are super proud of these young agents of change and the energy and vigor with which they take on challenges!

Innovation Galore!

There’s innovative and interesting teaching and learning happening in so many different ways in RDF schools. Despite running for 23 years, the creativity we see in our classrooms and outside them too, never ceases to amaze us!

The exquisitely cut peepal leaf map

Nikhil sir’s chalk stupa in the news!

In Rollakal School, teacher Nikhil has gained local renown for his expertise in micro arts. While studying  B.Ed, he made 2 oxen with ragadi soil that looked lifelike! He did this project to honour rural India and symbolize that the farmer is the back bone of India. He has also made chalk engravings such as the Stupa of Telangana Martyrs and the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On India’s 73rd Independence Day celebrations in the school, he cut the map of India on a Peepal leaf which looks fantastic! Our students are thrilled to learn these art forms from him & understand how art can also create employment.

Girls, leading & teaching a class

In Redlawada School, the Class 9 students in have created a system to learn independently when a teacher is absent. Two students select the subject and topic, with one doing the reading and the other writing the important points on the board. We are proud of their ability to self organize and take responsibility for their education, engage proactively and feel empowered to lead!

All attention, as students listen to football instructions

In Matendla School, the Class 9 Hindi teacher created a very interesting lesson on Football, which was in the syllabus, by actually organizing a football match for the students! So excited did this news make the kids, that they raised the money to purchase a shiny, new football! The Physical Education Teacher was brought on board to explain the rules and show them how to play. It was a wonderful day of play and learning as the boys and girls played together, learnt about team spirit, discipline, motivation and practice!

The ‘Quick Cleaner’, at work!

In the RDF VAPV Junior College, who knew that studying in the corridor and watching the sweeper try unsuccessfully to clear out the rain water, would lead to a creative burst? This is what happened with Venkatesh who wondered how to create a cleaner that could sweep out the water using less manpower and less time? As an avid Physics student, he drew models for feedback from the Principal. With his encouragement and funding, he quickly came up with a working model which was demonstrated to the teachers and students. With more design inputs, the college now has a ‘Quick Cleaner’ which has made life so much easier. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

The staff and students indeed make studying in RDF schools a wonderful world!

Save Birds, Save Nature

A small pond on campus for small animals & birds

The RDF VAPV Junior College prides itself on the environmental awareness it strives to create in its students, in order to help student develop in a multidimensional way. The college community has been doing a lot of work to conserve local flora, fauna and birds by planting trees in campus which has increased the green cover and biodiversity, including putting up bird feeders.

Drawing submitted for the bird themed competition

 

 

In order to deepen awareness, they have formed a club called ‘Birds Club’ which includes 5 boys, 5 girls and a lecturer. The students collect photos, including taking photos themselves and want to create a local Birds Gallery. Through this, they are learning about bird species that are on the endangered list such as the vulture which is ecologically important.

 

 

 

 

The group conducted a painting and drawing competition on the theme of birds to generate further interest in their work. There was a tremendous response from everyone. This competition helped many more students realise the need to protect birds. They have now taken on the responsibility to help promote ways to protect local species among the local community too. We hope their concerted and conscientious effort pays off.

Traditional Wisdom in a Modern World

Kids engrossed in a simple game with stones

Education and school brings the world to the doorstep of the rural children we work with. It helps them understand the world and learn ways of engaging with it. While the aim is to provide them with a quality of education that empowers them with skills and tools to lead independent lives and be free of poverty, simultaneously, we also ensure that they remain rooted in traditional practices and wisdom too.

A ‘talipot’ thatched hut

As the current generation is living in a dizzying digital age, with its impact penetrating rural areas as well, we encourage our students to play traditional games too. As cities get more urbanized and electrified, our students see their families build homes with natural materials such as the ‘talipot’, a native palm variety, used to build thatched houses that keep their homes naturally cool in summer.

They see and learn animal domestication, with the cow being worshipped and being a provider for milk and cow dung. Washing their house with cow dung once a week ensures protection from mosquitoes, insects and flies – so much better than chemical based disinfectants! Rearing hens is common and a source of income for rural families.

With widespread degradation of the environment, rural wisdom teaches our students about how to live in harmony with nature and her creations. There is so much that they learn from their elders, in addition to what they learn in school. It’s no surprise that our students are very eco conscious and green activists, an attitude and ability that we hope they carry into their future too!

Hands-On Health & Hygiene

RDF is using its best practices that have created a positive impact in the lives of rural children and in its school, in its Tech Mahindra Foundation (TMF) partnership primary school too.

Health and Hygiene form a very important component to life in school. Teachers and selected student body representatives teach and monitor several aspects of health and hygiene such as the cleanliness of washrooms, wearing slippers to use toilets, how to flush after using the toilet and washing hands and legs with soap. By rotations, students monitor the cleanliness and personal hygiene habits of the children.

A high level of hygiene is also maintained during food preparation, lunch and snack times. Children are taught to wash their hands before and after eating, rinsing their mouth to avoid bad odour, then washing their plates without wasting water. Food is prepared by the non teaching staff using strict cleanliness code, including preparing nourishing and healthy food using local produce either from the school’s own garden or sourced from nearby farmers.

This focus goes a long way in preserving a clean and healthy environment in the school, one which invigorates the body and mind! Who doesn’t love a clean environment to study in, reflecting the care of the entire school community?

Self Creation and Self Empowerment

Education is crucial for rural children because it allows them to gain qualifications and skills that make them employable. A viable source of employment means a life free of poverty and its incumbent challenges.

Making beautiful handcrafted paper creations

While education certainly provides the academic degree that allows students to complete higher education and start a career in their chosen field, it’s also imperative that they learn other vocational skills too. Thus, at RDF, our approach is holistic, focusing on children’s innate talent, developing their interest and curiosity in meaningful ways and also teaching them new skills. Hence, there is a strong focus on making time for extracurricular activities, which our students enjoy tremendously!

In Redlawada School, the students spent time learning how to make beautiful decorative items using waste paper. Recycling and upcycling also helps them see old and used materials in new ways and amps up their creativity. Once they catch on to an activity, the interest levels go up and the creativity and thinking ability just burgeons! Such is the power of an open and nurturing learning environment.

A finished piece, held with pride!

Learning art and craft helps our children apply their minds in imaginative ways, plus develops proficiency in new areas that can generate a source of income and employment once they’re older. We’ve had several former students start small businesses in carpentry, tailoring, catering, opening a restaurant, serving the local community and the local economy.

This is precisely the empowerment of rural children that remains a constant vision for us and guides our work.

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!