Archive for the ‘Life skills building’ Category

Synchrony-sed English Development Efforts!

Learning English is remote, rural areas is a very challenging task. With Telugu being the native language and there being no usage of English in a child’s natural environment, a lot of effort is taken to implement English in RDF schools and teach it in ways that students are able to retain the new language skills that they’re learning.

We are very fortunate that the need to learn English in today’s global environment is understood by RDF’s supporters and that more effort is required to implement English in a rural school. One of our long term supporters has been Synchrony Financial who has helped us in innumerable ways for over 10 years! In order to help enhance English skills in our schools, Synchrony Financial set up an English Language lab 3 years ago in Kalleda School, equipped with computers, language software and electricity back up. This lab is changing the lives of the children and teachers through giving them access and exposure to innovative English enhancement programmes in a high quality facility!

Over the years, several employees and senior management have visited the school and most recently, the school was honoured to receive Mr. Ravi Kiran. He spent the day observing the work in the lab and was shown the lab maintenance registers. The children happily informed him on how much their English skills are improving through better grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence formation. They told him they feel less inhibited and more confident about using English.

Mr. Ravi Kiran was pleased with this progress and reported feeling good that the lab is being used effectively by the school and his interaction showed that everyone is indeed getting better at expressing themselves in English!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Ushering in a New Era with a US trip!

L,R: Divya, Sumathi

We are so excited by 2 RDF students, Divya and Sumathi, of Class 10, Kalleda School, who have been selected to go to the USA for a Youth Exchange Study Programme! For the 1st time in RDF, our students have been selected for such a programme and understandably, everyone is excited!

This opportunity has been given by Synchrony Financial, that has been supporting RDF’s work for over a decade though annual summer camps, development workshops, setting up English and Computer labs in our schools and teacher development. Last year, RDF students were invited to their ‘Goals for Girls Leadership Summit Programme’ in Hyderabad that was facilitated by the Synchrony Financial USA team. Here, students learnt about life skills through the metaphor of playing football and actually learnt football to make it an experiential learning process. They learnt valuable skills like communication, teamwork, goal setting and dealing with life’s inevitable challenges through understanding the game of football – a unique experience for everyone!

During the programme, the students had to create a themed project and the 2 girls chose Recycling as their theme and made ‘Plasto Coolers’, a low cost cooling mechanism that can help rural communities during summer. The girls, looking at a real life problem thought inventively and came up with this project idea which impressed and inspired everyone. Based on this project, they were shortlisted for the US study programme and thereafter cleared 3 rounds of interviews too! Though they were nervous, they received a lot of support and encouragement from the Synchrony team and we are very grateful for that! From a pool of 40 hopefuls, for 2 rural girls to get selected is an absolute honour and a testament to their sincerity and fortitude to do well for themselves.

We wish Sumathi and Divya lots of luck for this amazing, new journey that they are embarking on. We know they will come back enriched and ready to pass on their learning to everyone!

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!

Green Olympiad

The Green Olympiad is conducted by the Telangana Government to promote interest in environmental issues, current affairs and social causes. Students of Class 4 & 5 and Classes 6 – 10 from the Government Primary and High Schools, Bahardurapally, that are part of the RDF-Tech Mahindra Foundation partnership, participated in this event.

 

The students worked very hard for over a month, practising the questions in the prescribed format. It was great to see the effort put in by the students to prepare for this exam by researching topics from the internet, using library books and their own textbooks. The challenge level was also high as the medium was English, but that didn’t deter the students! Their hard work paid off and they were thrilled at receiving distinctions and credited their teachers and school for their performance.

An Interactive Experience

Silver Oaks, an International school in Hyderabad has been RDF’s education partner for over 10 years! What has remained the same over this decade has been their commitment and dedication to help RDF’s rural, underprivileged children in myriad ways to help with their development and potential success in school and beyond school. What has changed is how they continually evolve their work with our school, based on what’s happening in our communities and the school and using this feedback to add to or modify their interventions. This makes their work with us very contextual for the students and teachers, something we are very grateful for!

Matendla School was honoured with a visit by 36 students and 4 staff members from the school. From our end, we wanted exposure for our students to interact with new people and feel confident to exchange their views and ideas. The Silver Oaks team observed activities such as the ‘Balamela’, ‘Marks for Sports’ and other cultural activities. Through the day, the students exchanged ideas about academics and other areas.

Both groups felt enriched by the experience as the Silver Oaks students also understood the very different life and circumstances that rural children lead and the effort being made by the school, with Silver Oaks’ support to create a rich curriculum that allows for learning to be fun and meaningful. RDF children enjoyed meeting their city counterparts and learning from them.

 

Cooking up Solutions!

The innovation bubbling away in RDF schools blows us away and we can’t help but share, with pride, the effort being made by these children to give their all to their education. Innovations in Science is an area that our kids are doing well in. On theoccasion of National Science Day, Class 8 students from Redlawada School create a Solar Rice Cooker from scratch and using only waste and recycled material!

They recycled waste material such as discarded wood panel, a spare tiffin box and silver paper. The tiffin box was painted black to create more heat. A simple device like this is very useful for rural people as it’s simple to put together and low cost. It doesn’t require power and by just placing it in sunlight, it can cook the rice, while going about their daily work.

Rooted in their reality, this is precisely the kind of innovation that is need to bring real solutions to rural people. We are so proud that our students think about the problems being faced by their communities and look for ways to help them. It also builds their scientific enquiry and temperament, helping them focus on design thinking and being creative.

A Budding Artist

‘Beyond Textbook Education’ is an abiding philosophy in RDF. This philosophy is demonstrated time and again when we see how our schools encourage children to hone their innate talent and provide them whatever support they need to develop them.

Meghna is an RDF VAPV Junior College student who loves to draw. Her father who works for a small, private company is also an artist, so it’s easy to see where this talented girl gets her inspiration from. Right from her schools days in RDF Kalleda School, her teachers have encouraged her to draw! She loves to draw living portraits, pictures of Gods and sketches of human faces. Starting with drawing bird and animal pictures as a young girl, she was motivated to explore her skills more by her family and teachers. In this nurturing atmosphere, Meghna’s drawing skills sharpened and her artistry became more mature.

She has participated in many drawing competitions and loves gifting her work to friends, family and her teachers. “I would love to become a drawing teacher and inspire children to be creative and put these creative thoughts and ideas to draw”. We pray that Meghna realizes her dreams and inspires many budding artists, just as she has been!