Archive for the ‘Habitat Welfare’ Category

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!

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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.

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!

 

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.

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!

 

Celebrating Independence Day and Independent Minds!

Independence Day was celebrated throughout the country. While it was the 72nd year of independence, many parts of India, especially rural areas continue to be underdeveloped and underserved. This is felt acutely by the rural communities that RDF works with. However, we feel very proud that in the midst of continuing challenges, we are raising independent minded children, who bravely engage with these issues in their own communities.

On this Independence Day, the children and staff of Redlawada School took out a rally with a difference. Though it was raining, the flag was hoisted and there was an atmosphere of celebration. The children decided that the community needs to be better involved in developing the infrastructure in the villages such as roads and water resources. The lack of such basic amenities means that the kids are well versed with what is needed to developed in rural areas and that action as citizens is also needed. We are happy to see that they feel empowered to take such action! Therefore the rally was conducted with the view to urge and encourage the villagers to come together and figure out solutions to these basic problems that they still face.

Isn’t this real education? These are the skills that are needed to be developed through education – to be in service to society – understand social problems that affect them and come up with solutions. We couldn’t be prouder of these clear thinking young kids! Independent, clear and creative thinking was the motto for the school this Independence Day!