Archive for the ‘Habitat Welfare’ 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!

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!

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!

Not Just Recycling Paper!

Running an NGO is very gratifying work, but it comes with its own challenges as well, primarily in the area of costs to keep the schools running. We are very blessed, that over 2 decades, we’ve had many individuals and organisations joining hands with us, to provide high quality and holistic education to rural children.

However, this story is an acknowledgement about how much our school teams also do, in order to cover part of their operating costs or reduce it. One method employed by Matendla School is recycling text books. Students are instructed to look after the text books carefully, so that the same books can be used the following year. This practice has been working well for the past 4 years. In addition to this, well preserved books look lovely with nice covers on them! The children and staff collect newspapers or old covers to be reused. Just before schools reopened this year, the Primary School teachers did an excellent job of collecting old covers and covering all the textbooks for classes KG to 5!

Small drops make an ocean and in this way, every effort made by the schools to look after some of their operating costs goes a long way. Since the schools run transparently, it’s also a great way for the students to become involved in such practices. By being involved at this fundamental level, the knowledge and learning is retained – another step to creating a wholesome learning environment in our schools!

 

Help for our Feathered Friends

The education curriculum at RDF schools goes far beyond classroom education. Being socially responsible citizens is taught to RDF children from a young age and this expresses itself in various forms that have a positive impact on the local community too.

With summer temperatures soaring, animals and birds bear the brunt of harsh summers even more than humans. The scarcity of water takes its toll on our feathered and furry friends too!

Rollakal School students and teachers felt bad seeing birds flying in search of water and decided to do something to protect them from the heat. They have made water bowls from recycled jerry cans and hung them in the branches of mango trees in the school grounds. The kitchen staff, students and staff always check the water bowls, replenishing them with clean water.

Now they are delighted to see various birds flocking to the bowls to quench their thirst!

Sustaining the Environment

RDF schools have been working with sincerity and dedication not only towards the development of its students but also finding innovative ways to build the local communities and preservation of local traditions and the environment. They take their social responsibilities very seriously and the impact is seen in the ways in which the local communities rally to offer their support to their local RDF school!

Over the years, the schools have worked hard at preserving the environment through planting and growing local organic gardens, helping farmers to move away from chemical intensive agriculture to more natural ways and sustaining local produce. Such tender, loving care towards the environment goes a long way.

The Rollakal School community planted coconut trees some years back, with the children taking responsibility for watering, fencing and weeding the larger garden. The children decided to protect nature and happily look after the young trees!The school also has a mango tree plantation which is thriving and helps to bring in a small income for the school. The non teaching staff takes care of this plantation with great dedication. The produce is sold at the local market and the income is used to provide more resources to the children. These are real and measurable ways in which the schools are also empowering themselves and striving towards sustainability!