Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Community Care for the Children

In this digital era, the ramifications of being in an interconnected, digital world are not confined to just urban children. It easily reaches rural children too as technology has penetrated all parts of India. Therefore, it is not unusual, even in rural India to find children spending time on their cell phones, browsing the internet, spending time on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter or watch serials on television. The hold of such digital media and content is so strong that it has been creating concern among parents and educational institutions, as students spend more time in the digital world than the real world.

A discussion with teachers & parents

The team at the RDF VAPV Junior College also had similar concerns. They decided to enlist the support of the parents and also spoke to the students to come up with ways through which students also focused on their education, rather than whiling away time on their phones and the internet. The college now send the homework requirements and project work via SMS to each parent. They are also informed if the student is absent, especially an absence of 3 days or more. They also exhorted parents to participate more in their children’s lives and take an interest in what they are doing.

Getting suggestions from parents & students

These initiatives have led to parent’s paying more attention to their children, helping them with their projects and homework, which is having a positive effect on their attitude and their academics too! The lecturers are also spending time engaging more deeply with the children, discussing education, life skills, careers and handling challenges in life. Undertaking such social responsibility together is what makes the RDF environment a dynamic one!

The parent community feels very motivated at the support and care that their children are receiving from the Junior College. Since all RDF institutions believe in transparency of processes, they also feel free to offer suggestions to the college management in handling everyday challenges. This is an empowered community at its best!

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A Special Birthday

Birthdays are typically days of celebration for children, who look forward to being with friends and family and receiving blessings and gifts from their families.

However, when Kanikonda Akhil, a student of Rollakal School, turned 14 years old recently, he decided to do something different. Concerned about the environment and inspired by the efforts being made in all RDF schools to bring awareness about environment conservation, Akhil decided to plant a sapling in his school on his birthday. He also gave a speech on his birthday, urging everyone to do something concrete that will help the environment.

The students and teachers appreciated his gesture and many students took a pledge to plant a sapling on their birthday too! Even the teachers were inspired by his thoughtfulness and they too decided to follow suit and plant a sapling on their birthday! Everyone agreed that contributing to protecting the environment was a much better way to celebrate a birthday and this planet too, rather than spending money on buying a cake and chocolates.

We are very touched by Akhil’s concern for the environment and are very proud that he took inspiration from RDF’s Social Awareness Programs and felt empowered to make his birthday a unique event for everyone. These are the waves of changes from the next generation that we see being birthed through RDF students’ inspiring actions!

Yoga for Life!

RDF cares about all its students’ overall health and life, not just their academic progress. The foundation for RDF’s work is the holistic development of the children, with a focus on developing them physically, mentally and emotionally. Yoga has been an important cornerstone in creating this kind of strong foundation in children’s lives.

Teachers from Yoga Vahini, Hyderabad, visited Matendla School and conducted a yoga training session for students and teachers. They learnt important asanas and pranayamas to help with balance, harmony, focus and building flexibility. Together, they discussed the main problem areas that occur in their lives and gave them specific asanas to do. Students and teachers felt strong and fresh after the session and noted that yoga helps them in their work, studies and everyday life in positive ways.

Slowly and surely, with yoga being such an intrinsic part of everyday life in RDF schools, even reluctant ones have been coming around and trying their hand at yoga. Over the years, students who have become proficient in yoga are taken for District and State level yoga meets, where RDF children perform very well. They have also become yoga ambassadors in their communities, strongly encouraging them to take up yoga, being proof of the benefits that it brings to their lives! Isn’t this what Educating, Engaging and Empowering is all about? 🙂

With Grace and Spirit…

Suresh (centre) helping with classwork

Life has dealt many blows to Suresh, but at the young age of 9, he is a beacon of inspiration for his peers and those younger and older alike.

Happy at play with friends

Suresh studies in the Mandal Parishad Primary School, Bahadurapally, supported by Tech Mahindra Foundation and RDF. His father passed away in an accident when he was just 3 and sadly, so did his mother, due to health reason when he was just 5. Brought up by his ‘peddamma’ – mother’s sister for 2 years, due to circumstances, had to put him in a state run orphanage. But at the tender age of 7, despite the tragedy of his circumstances, Suresh showed grace and compassion to everyone. With his sense of responsibility and ownership, he became a block leader in the hostel, supervising neatness of uniforms, washrooms and the kitchen garden. Suresh takes great pride in his work.

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A natural leader, even at school, he helps classmates willingly; is good at art, writing and academics. He loves to play kabaddi and volleyball. He is really happy to be studying in the MPPS and has a desire to become a doctor, which we feel will come true! Touchingly, Suresh thanks his hostel mates, teachers and the school team for all the opportunities life has given him. This quiet boy touches everyone’s heart with his selfless spirit and magnanimity!

Ready for Radio!

The RDF VAPV Junior College is very happy to inform that they have introduced the ‘Vanitha Pai Red FM’ – a novel concept to develop communication skills for its students.

Having fun with the in-house news announcements station!

The ability to communicate effectively in any field is generally what can help students in their careers. The goal of introducing this program is to help students to think creatively on a variety of topics of their choosing, share important news, information and messages with their peers and teachers, help with inhibitions or shyness in using English or speaking, improving general knowledge and share their own experiences, speak on current and world issues, as well as speak on philosophical and moral principles and values. Hence there is a range of themes that students can choose in order to enhance their speaking and communication skills – something that will suit everyone!

Of the students, by the students, for the students’!

Everyday, one group of students plan and execute a Red FM activity. All the students have taken to this platform enthusiastically and look forward to expressing their thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics. Red FM is run during three scheduled times during the day, outside of academic activities. It is refreshing to see students listening carefully to others’ bulletins, information and ideas.

Kudos to the Junior College team on creating this platform to help their students develop the essential life skill of good communication!

Flowers of Honour

Schools are always a bedrock of excitement on the occasion of Teachers Day, not the least for the reason of dressing up as teachers!

RDF Rollakal School, like all RDF schools also paid a fitting tribute to Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and all its management and teachers. However, there was a lovely difference to the celebrations. A social and environmental cause was a part of the celebrations – children were asked to avoid bringing anything made with plastic. Kids are normally keen to give small tokens as gifts to their teachers, therefore, this year, they decided to only present flowers.

The kids collected many flowers and then painstakingly fashioned them into garlands and bouquets – a delight to the eyes and the environment!

The teachers were very moved by the flowery creations and their gesture.

Thank you to the staff for always guiding our children in the right direction, towards greater conscientiousness, responsibility  and honouring themselves, their community and the planet!

 

Traditions, not Trends!

Urban areas are witnessing a revival of traditional arts, crafts and food practices. Organic bazaars are de rigeur in many parts of Hyderabad and across the country and people gleefully buy local produce, organic fruits and vegetables and traditionally prepared spices and delicacies. This is a very positive trend.

However, in rural communities, such as those that RDF works in, traditional has never been ‘trending’! Generations old practices still find their rightful place amongst families. Children grow up with mortars and pestles and stone grinders instead of expensive food processors. These traditional methods are something the villagers are proud of and hence teach these practices to the next generation. Since RDF staff also belongs to the same communities that the children belong to, discussions on culture and traditions take place very normally and within the context of their social and cultural reality. The schools also support these practices which have been proven to be more beneficial and healthy for people and the environment.

To say the least, food prepared the traditional way tastes absolutely heavenly – every urban visitor to an RDF school is testament to that fact!