Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Village Heroes, Modern Leaders

RDF alumni always champion RDF’s work. Even when they create good careers, they always come back to support us. While many aim for corporate jobs or aspire to become engineers, teachers or join the police; some really want to work at the grassroot level. Bukya Naresh and Kaku Sagar are 2 such alumni who contested in the local elections, with the former being elected as Vice Sarpanch (elected village head) in Mothya Thanda (tribal village) in Parvathagiri Mandal and the other elected as a Ward Member in Mechrajpally village.

Naresh

Naresh’s parents are farm labourers who dearly wanted their son to be educated. After completing Class 10 from a Government school, he completed his Intermediate from RDF VAPV Junior College, going on to complete his B.Com too. He was always interested in developing his village and rural communities. He has been active in helping farmers’ education about good farming practices, helping develop school to create a good education environment and in quick time has enabled Mothya to become the best ‘thanda’ in the mandal. It has good roads, good drainage system, street lights and drinking water. He has also put into place bi-monthly health camps and putting in a lot of effort to improve the quality of life for the villagers. He very humbly says, “I can do all these things only with the help of the villagers.”

Kaku Sagar

In Mechurajpally, Sagar says, “I belong to a poor family. My father is a farmer and my brother is a seasonal businessman. I dropped out of a government school because I wasn’t satisfied with my studies. Then I met Sridhar Sir, the Headmaster of Kalleda School, who inspired me to join the RDF school. Once there, I was encouraged by everyone and went on to do my intermediate from the RDF VAPV Junior College and also did B.Com and Master of Social Works from Kakatiya University. I discovered my interests and abilities in RDF and became a class leader in school as well as college. It was during my Post graduation that I was given an opportunity to coordinate a student meeting which developed my confidence & that’s when I decided to become a leader in my village, then go to the District and State level to serve the people with honesty and discipline.”

We feel confident of the future of the rural communities we work with, with being in the hands of such passionate and capable leaders like Sagar and Naresh. We are very proud that they were part of RDF and feel humbled by their gratitude towards us!

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Yehoshuva Shines!

In our everyday lives and encounters with children and educational institutions, it would be fairly common to see and hear adults being dismissive of children who don’t show abilities like their more hardworking or successful counterparts. They’re often labelled undisciplined or slow learners; such comparisons dealing a blow to their self esteem and confidence. However, RDF teachers have learnt there are often challenges in their personal lives and an inability to deal with them that often drives such behaviours. The teachers are trained to look beneath the surface, understand what’s really going on and create an approach from there.

The 2 Tech Mahindra Foundation and RDF partnership government schools in Bahadurapally have adopted such best practices from RDF schools. Take the case of Yehoshuva, a bright Class 6 student in ZPHS who was always in trouble, in school and outside too. Showing very little interest in studies or other activities at school, he was irregular, a habitual latecomer, showed little interest in wearing the proper uniform, was unkempt and behaved irresponsibility, with a tendency for angry outbursts.

His teachers gave him space to be and treating him with patience. This allowance of him to just be himself, not being compared and labelled and the encouragement given to him slowly allowed him to open up. His attitude changed and with that came an improvement in academic work.

He started coming to school regularly, with attendance improving to 90%! His anger subsided considerably and he started to interact and be nice with his classmates. Understanding how crucial validation and acknowledgement of positive improvements is in young students, the Headmaster called his parents and spoke about these changes. He was appreciated by his teachers too!

Now Yehoshuva is very engaged at school and plays khokho and kabaddi and has developed a keen interest in chess too. He is grateful to the teachers for helping and supporting him, not just academically but in his personal growth too.

Going the Extra Mile for Extracurricular Activities!

For most educational institutions, extracurricular activities is seen as something outside of regular school work; academics is given greater importance. However, in RDF, we believe that learning happens when it’s fun, therefore we place a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities too, as the achievements and successes from such activities spill over into all areas of a child’s life, which is what we would like to see!

Our extracurricular activities encompass a gamut such as art/craft, reading/writing, sports and indoor games, poetry and elocution, experiments, with a big dose of fun! Our teachers are trained to spot skills and talents in children, even if they surface in small ways because small doesn’t mean insignificant! This foundation is created right from the time the child starts in our schools. With the encouragement and care of teachers, these children become confident in themselves and their abilities which allows them to face challenges in other areas of their lives too.

In Redlawada School, the teachers spend a considerable amount of time to thoughtfully plan extracurricular activities, so the ‘extra’ effort doesn’t feel like effort! They’ve seen how the smallest of accomplishments or even acknowledgement goes a long way in building self esteem and help students focus on their goals with greater clarity. The sense of play and building interest creates a nurturing environment in the school, which everyone thrives in. Our biggest testament is that the kids enjoy coming to school and interacting with their teachers.

This holistic, whole life education is appreciated by the parent community too, who feel happy that their children are doing well, supported admirably by their dedicated teachers!

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.

Sailing towards your Goals

15 year old T. Ajay of Kalleda School has put his nose to the grindstone and worked extremely hard to get admission in Hakimpet Sports School. A student in the school from Class 1 – 4, he performed very well in sports, especially Kho-Kho and Athletics. The schools’ Physical Education Teacher noticed his interest and prowess and encouraged him.

With the support of the management and PET, Ajay participated in many competitions and eventually was selected in the Hakimpet  Sports School. While he is no longer a part of RDF, we continue to follow the progress of our alumni closely.

His main event in the school in ‘Sailing’. He participated in the International Junior ‘Sailing’ competition in Chennai and came in 6th place! We love to share stories like these with our current students to help them see the power of discipline, dedication and determination. Stories like Ajay’s provide tremendous inspiration to our rural children who can then believe that goals are achievable and dreams are possible. It also allows the local community to understand that there is more to education than academics and that talent and building skill in other areas can also help students achieve success.

Dancing towards your Dreams!

Harsh is an alumnus of Redlawada School. From the time he was in school, he was passionate about dancing.Whenever he got the opportunity, he would showcase his dance skills. He was encouraged by his teachers to keep building his skills which helped immensely with his confidence and motivated him to keep practising and improving.

Recently, he formed a ‘Kolatam’ group in Redlawada village. This is a traditional, rural dance form that he wants to propagate. He has inspired many local youngsters to join him and is providing dance coaching to them. His hard work is paying off when he won an Appreciation Certificate at a District level Kolatam competition.

His dream is to reach new heights of dancing and encourage local talent.

He acknowledges the role played by RDF in reaching for his dancing goals since RDF focuses on developing children’s innate talent, in addition to academics.

His family is very happy at how his life is shaping up and is proud of his achievements. Other students are inspired by his passion, his achievements and his helping boost new talent.

We are so proud of Harsh for not only his personal accomplishment, but that he’s also devoting time and energy to help others improve their skills and reach for their dreams

On Your Marks!

Sporting activities have got a new angle at Matendla School.  A new perspective has been brought in through the ‘Marks for Sports’ programme that was introduced by RDF Director, Mr. Andrian Kennedy. The aim is to encourage children to improve their sports skills by treating sports as a regular subject and allotting marks.

Marks for Sports is a 5 star fitness programme. It has been introduced and implemented in Matendla School before being taken to the other schools. The process was started by testing the students in 5 categories viz. Shuttle Run, Toe Touch, Standing Jump, 9 Minute Run and Speed (50 metres) Run. Student performances are recorded and a star rating system is assigned for each test – the stars are equivalent to the performance based scores in the tests. Any student who doesn’t qualify can attempt the test again in the next academic year.

The students are enjoying the new system and are pushing themselves to perform better. It is hoped that not only will the students improve their sporting skills and enhance their performance, but that they will receive the benefits of taking up sporting activities such as improved coordination, flexibility, stamina etc, regardless of their marks.

This is yet another way to engage our students productively and gives them an avenue to participate in interesting activities to develop their skills. We are glad that they have taken to this programme and are thoroughly enjoying themselves!