Archive for the ‘Environmental Consciousness’ Category

Here’s to Healthy Living!

Mounisha (L), explaining the theory of natural and healthy living

Mounisha, a 2nd Year BPC student at the RDF VAPV Junior College, has been providing nutritional coaching to her friends, after learning about harmful chemical additives in fruit. A Chemistry lesson on how chemicals impact the nature of fruits and soil, in turn harming our health and Iives had a profound impact on her. She says, “My teacher explained about the number of chemical being used in growing vegetables and fruits – that the fruits, vegetables and chicken are contaminated. I was concered about this and explained to my friends how eating such produce impacts our health and our future negatively. I took my friends to the Chemistry lab and explained this to them in a practical way.”

“I came up with a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts for my friends and the community, which are” –

 Don’t:

  • Don’t drink cold drinks. It pollutes our bodies and the environment
  • Don’t eat fruits and vegetables sprayed with chemical fertilizers, pesticides etc.
  • Don’t eat boiler chicken

Do’s:

  • Drink coconut water
  • Eat naturally grown fruits and vegetables, that have been grown without use of chemicals
  • Cook vegetables using natural ingredients
  • Eat free roaming, natural country chicken (Natu Kodi)

The practical lesson!

Mounisha’s friends took her message to heart and have agreed to spread this awareness in their communities about eating natural foods and avoiding the use and consumption of produce grown with chemicals. We are very proud to see Mounisha making an empowered decision not just for her health, but those of her friends, their families and the extended community too! We hope that her concern and practical solutions find its way into many homes, enabling them to make healthier choices and lead healthier lives.

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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!

Saying bye to plastic!

Plastic is everywhere! It’s use has become so common that most people do not even think about using it. People are not aware of the harmful effect of plastic on the environment, on human and animals. Plastic refuse takes hundreds of years to decompose and is toxic. Kalleda High School children were getting perturbed by the use of plastic in their school and junior college premises. Since RDF institutions pride themselves on being green and building environmentally sound practices, the students decided that plastic use had to end!

With that determination, the students started with discussing this with the non teaching staff. They showed them alternatives to plastic such as using paper, cloth or jute bags. They also recommended that they carry their own cloth bags and saying ‘no’ to plastic or polythene bags that are unthinkingly handed over in shops. The discussion led to a life changing decision for everyone present – the  non teaching staff made a vow to stop using plastic in their homes and at work and together they made a vow to make the school plastic free!

We are thrilled with the motivation that these young students were able to provide and take it a step further by banning plastic in all forms in their school! We are sure that this energy will provide them with the momentum to make positive changes in their villages too. After all, big change starts with small changes at the individual level. We hope this becomes a community effort to make our rural communities environmentally safe and plastic free!

Fruitful partnerships and efforts..

Our vibrant community of education and financial partners strive hard to support the skilling and development of our schools and providing tons of inspiration to the children in the process! Infor has been supporting RDF for over 10 years. Rollakal School stands today due to the fundraising efforts by the Infor management and employees who donated sufficient funds that enabled us to construct a permanent school building in Rollakal village. Over the years, their employees have also conducted workshops and talks on skills such as English language development, technology and career guidance.

Last month, Infor employees visited Redlawada School for a green initiative. They planted 140 saplings that consisted of 100 coconut trees, 20 flowering trees and 20 fruit bearing plants! The plantation drive showed the students the value of social service and conserving the environment. Though rural areas are still green compared to urban areas, planting more sapling will go towards making the area even more lush!

Another special initiative that was taken was to ‘name’ all the plants on the names of the Infor employees and RDF team. Together, they decided that birthdays would be commemorated through remembering the person who planted the specific tree! It was a sweet thought that everyone was delighted with! Several parents also visited the school on the occasion and it reiterated the importance of developing social responsibilities in their children, in addition to their academic development. The parent community that strongly supports RDF schools was also happy to meet the visitors and blessed the green efforts.

The day was literally fruitful and everyone went home with a sense of satisfaction and pride in their school and our partners.

A Dash towards Creativity

Adarsh had never really seen himself as an artist, though he drew well. But his school, RDF Matendla School, with its focus on holistic development of children, encourages creativity in all shapes and forms such as music, art, craft, theatre, sports, teaching activities etc. So, we can see how Adarsh was influenced by the creative spirit surrounding him.

Using waste materials and recycling them to encourage sensitivity towards the environment is another strong focus area. Adarsh meshed the two and focused on designing showpieces from discarded material at home, starting with old wedding cards. With intense focus on the creative process, he designed a stunning showpiece which occupies pride of place in the school. The idea came from him and was encouraged by his teacher. To see his idea come to life really brought a leap in confidence for this quiet boy. The stunning design also inspired his peers who saw how an idea could be fleshed out to create a visually appealing design. It again brought home the point of recycling as much as we can and that everything can be put to good use!

Being the Change…

Our rural children live in the midst of greenery, at nature’s doorstep, so one might ask why they need to be taken on a field trip to appreciate nature and natural farming methods? This is because even rural areas are facing the brunt of climate change, so the teachers of the RDF VAPV Junior College thought it would be a good idea to meet some farmers who are practicing organic and natural farming and understand the repercussions of present farming systems with them.

The farmers in a small village near Kalleda were very happy to meet these students. They believe that the more people are made aware of harmful farming practices and environmental degradations, the more solutions can arise from those who want to make a change. The students, their teacher and the farmers discussed reasons for shortfall of rains, rising temperatures, usage of plastic and using chemical fertilizers and pesticides and the negative impact of this on the environments and us. The students clearly understood the reasons why change is imperative and to pave a path for future generations. They proudly explained that they never use any chemicals on the crops, using natural compost, ‘eruvulu’ instead. Food grown this way is gentler on the environment and those who consume them. Bhavani of BPC, 2nd year said, “I am glad that I learnt practical ways to switch to organic farming. It is necessary to explain this to other farmers. These farmers are getting benefits from not buying chemicals.” Her classmate, Meghna, said “I am very attracted to rice production. We can easily grow rice without using chemicals. On the dairy farm, I was happy to see healthy food being given to the animals. This healthy lifestyle is possible.”

Yes, it is, with the support of farmers and young people like Meghna and Bhavani and our other students. The students are now making plans on how to speak to farmers within their communities to make them aware of healthier ways to farm and assist with their transition!