Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Student Endeavours and Empowered Communities

RDF schools have been built on the premise of Educating, Engaging and Empowering underprivileged rural children such that they learn tools through their years in RDF schools that will enable them to gain employment and break free from their lives of poverty. At a micro level, this is possible only through deeply engaging with each child and their family, nurturing community relationships based on trust and faith.

RDF staff, who also belong to the same communities and have led similar lives, have an intimate knowledge of the struggles that children and their families go through; having gone through the similar challenges of financial difficulties, working hard to complete schooling, working as students to put themselves through college, simultaneously trying to support their struggling families at home.  Having lived through similar circumstances, RDF staff make the effort to create personal relationships with the children, guiding and mentoring them and celebrating their talents, skills and achievements through school and even after school. This care and support system provide huge encouragement to the children and gives them mental and emotional strength to face their life and continue to work hard in school.

Saritha passed out of Redlawada School last year and joined a Junior College in the neighbouring small town of Hanamkonda. She recently informed the school that she topped the 1st Year Intermediate Examinations in the CEC group. Though she has graduated from the school, she, like many other students, keep in touch with the school and update them about their higher education. The school also keeps in touch with families and extends their support whenever required. Therefore the school and Saritha’s family is celebrating her accomplishment and together prays and wishes that she continues with determination for her further success in life.

Chandana, a Class 10 student in the school, has also been putting in a great deal of effort in her academics and extracurricular activities in school. Her parents are agricultural labourers who toil hard to send their only daughter to school so that she can lead a better life. However, Chandana is a sweet and humble girl who understands her parent’s troubles. So she spends all her spare time helping her parents in the fields with every Sunday and each holiday dedicated to working together with her parents in the field which gives them some respite from grinding physical labour.

We celebrate the spirit and compassion of our children, their families and our local communities which includes our local staff , through these stories. We take pride in their everyday lives, their journey and not just the end achievement. This is RDF’s way of creating empowered individuals who can create empowered communities!

Young Motivator!

One would think that the zeal to motivate and inspire can only come through years of study or life experience – having attained a certain level of learning in order to reach out or teach others. But what we have seen in RDF schools over and over again is that the zeal to motivate and reach out comes from a space of generosity, care, kindness – all encompassing a spirit of sharing.

Malyala Ramya is one such alumus of RDF Kalleda School who studied there from LKG to Class 5, thereafter gaining admission in a Government Sports School in Karimnagar. Now in Class 9, she has been selected to participate in Wrestling competitions. An avid lover of sports since she was a young girl, Ramya always had the clear intention of doing something in the sports arena. During summer vacation, she decided to pay a visit to Kalleda School to meet her teachers and former classmates. Driven by a desire to share her experiences as a sports person, she arranged a Summer Camp. During the camp, she emphasized the importance of physical, mental and emotional fitness in life. She also taught basic fitness techniques to build stamina and physical ability.

She spoke to the children not only about the importance of staying active and fit, but also on the importance of developing themselves in a sport as excellence in a sporting field can lead to future job opportunities as well.  The students thoroughly enjoyed her sessions and inspirational talks! Through her example, they understood the values of self discipline, hard work and personal excellence.

So Ramya, all of 14 years of age, showed all of us, yet again, that age is no deterrant to being a beacon of inspiration. We thank Ramya for her generosity and her willingness to share all that she has learnt with the young kids in Kalleda School!

Community Circle of Trust

The importance of parent and community engagement has been paramount since the establishment of the first RDF school in 1996.  Each school has put in tremendous effort to built trust based relationships with its parent community. Since the students are first generation learners, it becomes crucial for the schools to be transparent in their processes and that parents understand how the schools are being run.

Thus, we recognise that parents are key stakeholders in the sustainability of their local RDF school. Rather than merely informing parents about student’s progress, the formation of a parent committee brings in value and experience in key decisions, which shows the trust and faith the school management has in the local community.

In Matendla School, regular review meetings are conducted regarding school operations and student’s education. A unique support structure has been created through which students and parents are invited to review their own progress and performance. This feedback is combined with staff feedback to create a more wholesome development plan for each student! This also puts the student in charge of their reviewing their own learning and progress.

This kind of open process creates a circle of encouragement and trust in which the opinion and feeling of each student and parent is valued. This allows the student to improve in academic and non academic areas too. Parents feel happy with this level of involvement and convey their regard and satisfaction for our processes.

Aiming Right with Archery!

A sporting star has been making quiet strides in the RDF VAPV Junior College. Nomula Lavanya has struggled against her social and financial circumstances, but found support in her parents who are daily wage earners and have put together their savings to encourage their daughter to fly high. She took up Archery as a Class 5 student in RDF Kalleda School. With fierce determination, Lavanya took on the challenge of daily training, practicing for nearly 10 hours a day, while also putting in efforts to complete her intermediate, which she passed in first division! Now a first year degree student in Sai Ram Degree College in the small town of Thorrur in Warangal District, she has proved her talent in Archery as well as academics.

Lavanya’s Archery achievements are superlative to say the least! She has participated in the International Archery World Cup in Junior and Senior categories in China in 2013 and 2014, as well as in the World Cup Championship in Columbia in 2015. In 2014, she won Gold at the National Level in Assam. In 2015 & 2016, she won Gold in the Senior National Championships in New Delhi. Based on her excellent showing in Stage 3 in the Nationals, the National Selection Committee has selected her to represent India at the Archery World Cup Championships to be held from June 18-22 in the USA! Her ultimate dream is to represent India at the Olympics.

Lavanya appreciates the level of encouragement, support and training that she has been given at RDF and believes strongly in spreading a sports culture in schools and colleges

We are so proud of the humility and determination of the simple students who rise up with grace and grit to make their family, their schools, their peers and the country proud! We are honoured to have such a star in our midst and hope for many more Lavanyas coming up!

Congratulations to IPE Toppers!

The Intermediate Public Examination (IPE) March 2017 results have been declared. The RDF VAPV Junior College got the highest pass percentage and secured the 1st rank at the Divisional level.

In 1st year, 190 students appeared in the exam, with 173 clearing the exams, giving the college a pass percentage of 91%. In 2nd year, 181 students appeared in the exam, with 176 clearing the exams, giving them a pass percentage of 97%. The number of A Grade students is 189, the number of B Grade students is 94 & the number of C Grade students is 47.

Our toppers had this to say –

T. Sai Vratha: She is the daughter of the Headmaster of RDF Kalleda School, Mr. S. Sridhar and topped her stream. She says, “I prefer to study always and think of being a role model to all in the society. I was unhappy that I didn’t study in an RDF school, but I am delighted that I got to study in the RDF VAPV Junior College”.

K. Rahul: “I spent almost 10 hours every day to write and rewrite everything I studied. I wanted to understand things. I want to study medicine and now I am taking NEET long term coaching. I am confident I will get a seat in Medical College. I went to give free treatment to the poor people. Do what is right, the right way!

V. Namratha: The 18 year old wants to study law & is already preparing for the entrance exams in June. “I want to become a lawyer to fight for injustices in society. I hope to eventually become a judge and pass fair judgments.”

Please join us in congratulating the effort and success of these deserving students!

 

Rural Learning, Global Training!

The quality education partnership between RDF & Tech Mahindra Foundation got another feather in its cap through the achievements of it students in a local essay comptetion.

Getting to a point of competing in an event that involved not just writing in English, a language students in rural and semi rural areas have limited exposure to; but also to utilise higher level thinking skills, in order to write a comprehensive essay was no mean task. Till just as recent as 2 years back, these students would not have had the confidence or the ability to write or compete in English. The intensive efforts that have been made in this partnership, implemented with the encouragement of the RDF team and the local teachers are paying dividends!

An essay writing competition was conducted in which students of the Zilla Parishad High School and other schools in the area participated with enthusiasm.  The topic for the competition was “Global Warming“.  Children’s participation was overwhelming and the innovative ideas and knowledge about the real concern of ‘global warming’, among the children was appreciable.

The winners were presented with medals and participation certificates. In this context, the school staff and RDF voluntary staff deputed for ARISE project of the Tech Mahindra Foundation were applauded for their contribution in providing high quality education standards for the children. Here are the students who got medals with appreciation certificates –

L-R: M. Mounika – Class 9, Y. Saivarun – Class 7, T. Sunitha – Class 8

Through this partnership, it is the aim of both RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation to provide the best facilities to children from deprived backgrounds, whose families struggle to even send their children to school. For children from remote rural and semi rural areas to research, read, think and analyse events and topics that are global in nature, is truly amazing! It just goes to show how meaningful engagement with staff and students can empower them in such leaps and bounds!

 

Civil Services Trainee Officers’ Visit

What better inspiration can children receive when IAS & IPS officers in training decide to visit students and staff of Redlawada School? 🙂

The bonds of strong community that each RDF school has developed by becoming an integral part of their local communities was demonstrated when the Redlawada village Sarpanch, A. Santhosh and village Wiseman, A. Chandraiah invited trainee officers to the school to interact with the students.

The visitors were very impressed with the facilities being provided to the children in such remote and rural villages and appreciated the efforts being put in by the RDF team to provide high standards of education and infrastructure to these deserving children.

The trainees took classes and also gave tips to students on how to prepare better for higher education and taking competitive examinations. They also gave an emotional speech on the importance of looking after children well in society, providing them with care and encouragement to stand on their own feet, despite their challenging life circumstances. Hence the support these children receive from RDF schools and staff was applauded.

The children felt very happy with the visit and were glad to have their questions about potential future careers answered by the very willing visitors!