Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

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.

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Taking to Taekwondo

RDF’s first generation learners join school carrying hopes for a better life through the power of education. Unfortunately, many schools interpret education to mean classroom learning, but RDF realizes that education and learning goes far beyond textbook education. It lies in following a child’s interest and nurturing it to give them a sense of self and a belief in their abilities. Hence, RDF schools focus on the all round development of its children and a key area of focus is sports and games.

The impressive medal haul at the District level Taekwondo competition

RDF children have been doing very well in sports, having won many accolades right from the Mandal to the National level and international level participation too. The number of sports that these eager to learn kids have been specializing in has also grown in scope from athletics and archery to yoga, martial arts and fencing too! Redlawada School’s expansive grounds are being put to good use for sports development, with Taekwondo training being offered by the Physical Education Teacher, Mr. Thirupathi. Since this is a new sport, the kids have been practicing sincerely every morning and evening in the school. Their hard work is bearing fruit, with 22 students selected to participate in the District level Sub junior Taekwondo championship in Tandur. 14 students won Bronze and 8 won Silver, with 3 students selected to State level! That is wonderful news and a powerful confidence booster for our young Taekwondo fledglings!

The proud Taekwondo team

Such selections and achievements create a very powerful impact on not just the students, but at the school and community level too, since parents can see the difference in their children through sports participation. It builds their trust that their child is in good hands and that teachers truly care for their betterment.  Such achievements create an inspirational buzz in the school and there is collective feeling of pride. It pushes other students to take up a particular sport too. This build a great atmosphere in the school. We are super proud of Redlawada School’s encouragement of its students. We know they’re now eyeing the National level and we pray, that like their counterparts in Kalleda and Matendla schools, they too achieve this next step in their sports journey.

An Inspirational Interaction

Students interacting with Mr. Ahmad on stage

Mr. Ajaz Ahmad is renowned in the Telangana region as a motivational speaker, newsreader, handwriting trainer and has received many awards in his illustrious career. The RDF VAPV Junior College was honoured to receive him as a guest, in order to interact with the students and faculty.

He spoke at length about the over-dependence on technology and how it is degrading human values due to loss of social interactions and values. He definitely had the students’ attention from the get go when he asked them if they wanted to know how he achieved what he did in his life. The answer, of course, was a resounding ‘yes’! He explained that yoga and dhyanam (meditation), for just half an hour a day gave him the equanimity and focus, which has helped him tremendously in life! He inspired the students and the faculty with his wit and wisdom, giving them many helpful ideas on a range of themes like how to manage time, personality development and how to build one’s career. He also delved into reading and writing techniques which will be very useful in their academic work.

He ended his inspiration talk with saying that, “Success depends on hard work”, urging them to put in effort to feel pride in their achievements and making their parents and the college proud. Everyone had a wonderful time meeting Mr. Ahmad and absorbing the wisdom and practical techniques which he shared so generously with everyone!

The Importance of Voting

It’s election time in India and as  a part of the ‘Continuous Comprehensive Assessment’ programme, Kalleda School conducted a message oriented activity on ‘Awareness on the Importance of Voting’.

The kids took up a campaign in their community in order to drive home the importance of voting. They urged them, saying, “Your vote is your choice to elect the public representative. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. The power to change our country starts with you single vote.” The main aim of the campaign was to achieve 100% voting in their local communities.

The kids, passionate about creating change, motivated everyone to utilize their vote to elect the right public representative and vote for their progress and development. A group of students also enacted a drama on the voting system! Together, they made an oath to cast their vote, ending with a chant of ‘Vote to Change the Future’.

It is amazing how conversant the students are on social issues and have the passion to create change. It shows a willingness to engage with issues that affect them and create solutions, in their own way, that address the problem – in this case, casting their vote and thinking about how to develop the villages. Well done, teachers and students of Kalleda School on taking up such an important issue and taking the steps to create change!

A Whole day of Holistic Interaction!

RDF works very hard to provide resources to its children and teachers in order to aid their growth and development. Living in poverty for generations, we understand the life circumstances and limitations that the community faces and the programmes and mentoring they need to achieve their dreams and goals, as first generation learners. The philosophy also guides the progress of the 2 Tech Mahindra Foundation schools in Bahadurapally, which have come to be regarded as beacons of quality education in the surrounding villages.

The Sri Ramakrishna Foundation (SRK), Bahadurapally conducted a full day session on Life, Aims & Goals, Career, Moral Values, Success and Role of Parents for the students of the Zilla Parishad High School. The main aim was to gently encourage students about how to live in present day society, without fear and lead a life based on their moral values and how to achieve their goals.

The morning session was led by Mr. Bhargava Nagaprasad and Mr. Adiseshu. In addition to the main themes, they specifically spoke about financial difficulties and how to reach their financial goals. Plenty of inspirational examples from real life were given to the students in order to motivate them, such as Dr. Abdul Kalam’s humble roots and achievements.

In the afternoon session, Mr. Bhagicha Singh of TNR Academy and Mr. M.D. Rao were the speakers. Mr. Rao, at 85 years of age, who leads an independent life, proved to be a source of inspiration for everyone present. They also spoke on health issues such as abstaining from ‘gutka’ and alcohol and focus on looking after their parents’ wellbeing and achieve life goals. Mr. Singh spoke about the social problems of female infanticide and education for girls, urging students to encourage women and treat them with respect and preventing exploitation of children through child labour.  They also motivated the students to be of service to the country and help in its progress. Sarath, Jyothi and Vinayaka of Class 6 & 7 respectively were appreciated by the speakers for their confidence and ready answers. Mr. Rao was impressed with another student, Aruna’s thoughtful responses and gave her a cash reward of Rs. 500 on the spot!

TNR Academy gave each of the 247 students present an exam pad, pen, pencil box and notebook! They also promised to provide free coaching to ZPHS students, based on merit. The day ended with positive feedback from the students who felt inspired by the talks and ready for action!

 

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!

 

Theatre is Fun!

Theatre is a wonderful way to engage children and adults alike. As a medium, it brings texts and contexts to life to children and is adaptable to kids of any age and acting ability. Performances also gently prod children along the path of confidence and self expression. We have seen, time and again, how much children enjoy theatre and take ownership of the entire production process – the dialogues, memorization, practice and performance – they really come into their own with the magic of theatre!

Class 7 and 8 students of Matendla School got the fantastic opportunity to participate in a District Level Science Drama Festival that was organized by Sadaran India Science Drama Festival 2018. It was first conducted at the Mandal level in Siddipet in which our students won first place and were selected to the District level! They performed on the theme ‘Digital India’, portraying the plight of farmers and farming being affected by the onslaught of technology. The kids enthusiastically put up a brilliant show, along with a song.

The children really got into the skin of the characters and brought the story to life – so it wasn’t just about the acting, but about emoting and expressing themselves too. It was also a great way to delve deeper into the social cause of environment conservation and plight of farmers – issues that are directly impacting their rural communities.

We are proud of the encouragement RDF schools give their students to go beyond classroom learn and explore their talents, skills and environment in more creative ways!