Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Unmasking Care during Lockdown!

Vivek, a Class 3 student of Matendla School was inspired to make homemade cloth masks. He shared this idea with his mother, a tailor and sister, a class 10 student in the same school. Together, this family made 5000 masks with their own humble income! They collected cotton cloths from the villagers, handwashed them thoroughly with the antiseptic disinfectant Dettol, then Vivek’s mother machine stitched them.

The masks were then distributed in surrounding villages to the residents, including to local police, medical, revenue and electricity department personnel and sanitation workers.

We are very touched with Vivek’s level of social responsibility at such a young age and one family’s sincere desire to help their community!

Designing a Local Waste Water Management System

Non teaching staff constructing the soak pit

Student laying layers of rocks & stones for the soak pit

The Matendla School staff and students recently successfully completed the construction of a soak pit in order to increase the amount of groundwater for use in the school. This school community project shows us once again the power of collective intention and empowered action! The idea came forth after the high school students visited the model village of Hebrahimpur, where a soak pit project was undertaken as a village initiative and each family participated to ensure completion.

The primary treatment chamber linking to the soak pit

The water coming out of the septic tank is not pure. Therefore, the primary purpose of having a soak pit is to receive this effluent water, called ‘greywater’, from the primary treatment unit e.g., the school’s septic tank. The soakpit treats this greywater coming from the septic tank and discharges clear and non-harmful water into the ground. The greywater that passes through the soak pit gets filtered, which results in the smaller particles of effluents settling at the bottom of the soak pit, which get digested by microorganisms and is a sustainable degradation process. The filtered water then discharges through the porous walls of the soak pit, resulting in clean water being discharged into the environment.

The design to execution process managed by the students and non teaching staff also turned out to be a great way for students to understand waste management systems and the engineering that goes into it. The students enjoyed doing this hand-on project, adding a lot of knowledge to the topic of waste water management.

Empowered Alumnus

Each month, the RDF VAPV Junior College invites guests to motivate students in different spheres such as sports, creative fields and academics. Last month the JC team invited an alumnus who is well settled in life and is a teacher.

Afreen was an MPC (Maths, Physics, Chemistry) student of the 2010 batch. She passed her Intermediate exams in 1st division. She was a sincere and intelligent student, always thinking innovatively about her studies and life. Inspired by her college lecturers’ methods of teaching, she joined a Teacher Training course and was successful in getting a job as a Government School teacher at the young age of 20!

She spoke about her journey saying, “My father supported me a lot of achieve my goals. He always told me the values and education play a main role in life. I was also inspired by my teachers. I believe that hard work never fails and everything is possible to the common man if you have the will.” Inspiring words, indeed!

She spoke of how universities have evolved to have a variety of useful courses. She urged the students to select a course based on their interest and passion and that success would automatically follow. As a girl, who was provided the opportunity to pursue education and her dream, she has also committed to sponsor the education of one girl every year.

We are so proud of wise Afreen and are happy that she will continue RDF’s vision to educate and empower girl child education in her own way!

Empowered Self Governance

Self Governance is an empowered way of living and RDF looks at using various teaching-learning methods with the ultimate aim to help our rural students feel empowered.

A student role playing a middle school teacher

Matendla School grandly celebrated Self Governance Day in which Class 10 students role played the school’s teaching and non teaching staff, as well as roles of public representatives. Every student took their role seriously and prepared it well. By actually taking on these roles and their accompanying responsibilities, the children were able to more deeply understand what these roles entail. They shared their experiences with each other. Students who excelled in their roles were given prizes and every participating student was appreciated for their enthusiasm and hard work.

The smiling faces of our Class 10 students on Self Governance Day!

Abhilash, a Class 10 student donated leafy vegetables to the school which were utilised to prepare a scrumptious curry for the midday meal. Some of his other classmates donated sports good to the school. We felt very touched with their contributions and felt happy that they took the responsibility to provide something that the school community needed. Being able to extend themselves beyond their individual needs to look after the community needs is true empowerment, indeed!

Championing Sports and Girl Power!

Anitha, at work, in the fields

Gugulothu Anitha studying in Intermediate 1st Year in the RDF VAPV Junior College is an inspiration to everyone. She belongs to a poor Scheduled Tribes family, the youngest of 3 daughters. Her father was hoping for a boy when she was born and decided to bring her up like a boy. So while traditiona; families such as hers, girls look after household chores and boys help in the field, Anitha has been helping her father in farm work since she was young.

Anitha (5th from L), after winning a tug-of-war championship

However, Anitha is working hard at changing her father’s mindset to show him that girls and boys can do the same work. In Class 10, she started to show an active interest in Tug-of-War and sports such as netball, cricket, mini gold and Wushu. She diligently practiced before and after school, winning 3 medals in National level competitions. The Physical Education Teacher encouraged her interest, which further inspired her.

At a track & field sports meet

She wants to become a National coach and prove that girls are not inferior to boys in any field. It is heartwarming to see her speaking to her father  and showing him, through her accomplishments, to banish his belief that he would have been better off with a son rather than a daughter! We are proud of this empowered and self expressed 16 year old, who has become a role model for many rural girls.

Crafting New Skills

Saritha ma’am, preparing workshop materials

Infor, the Multinational technology company, has been supporting RDF for several years. They were instrumental in the construction of a permanent school building for Rollakal School and have initiated many student and teacher development programmes too.

Beautiful decorative items

A team from Infor visited Rollakal School last month to meet with the school community. This visit was made extra special when an Infor team member, Saritha ma’am, taught a creative workshop for children using waste material. The kids were very enthused to learn something new, using discarded plastic and household waste material. They learnt how to make items such as door mats, door curtains, ear rings, hair clips, hair ribbons, rings, necklaces, garlands and decorative boxes!

Stunning jewellery

She urged the students to create awareness in the larger community about the harmful effects of plastic and how to recycle and upcycle it, since plastic can be found everywhere!

Learning new methods of craft and art brings more confidence to our children, as they develop skills that can be used productively in their lives.

Once again, we are very grateful to Team Infor for the innovative workshops they conduct for the betterment of our students!.

A Musical Study!

Nature is a source of wonderful delights, music being one of them! Who knew that the leaves of the toddy palm tree can be fashioned into a musical instrument?

Mahesh, a Class 9 student of Redlawada School, helps his father in the field and learnt how to make this lovely instrument from him. He learnt how to fold and layer the toddy leaves in a specific way, using Arabic Gum thorns to create a wind instrument! It produces a good sound due to the meticulous way that the leaves are layered over each other.

We encourage students to learn traditional arts and crafts such as what Mahesh learnt from his father, as it enhances creativity, which then has a positive ripple effect in other areas of their lives. We believe that technical education helps with their holistic development, enabling them to learn skills beyond classroom education.