Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

The Right Values

RDF prides itself on the excellent value based education system that forms the fabric of its schools. While academic education certainly has its place, RDF has made tremendous effort to inculcate life skills in its students, placing a lot of value on human relationships.

Cheran (R), feeding Josh

Cheran is 11 years old and studies in Class 6 in Redlawada School. He likes being in school and engages well academically and in extracurricular activities too. He is a natural helper and is always eager to assist. Recently, his younger brother, Josh, injured 2 fingers on his right hand and needed help with everyday tasks. It was big brother, Cheran, who took it upon himself to help Josh as much as he could.

It’s beautiful to see the emphasis on family values in our students. Seeing care in relationships and acts of kindness sets the right example for our students. Social responsibility starts with our personal lives first and then flows in our outer world. In this consumerist world, we hope these are the right values that will enable students to balance all aspects of their lives.

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A Bright Future Beckons!

The RDF-TMF partnership is in its 4th year now and the seeds that were sown in the shape of RDF’s best practices with students and teachers, are blossoming in myriad, beautiful ways. Today we celebrate the lives and stories of some more children from the 2 partnership government schools in Bahadurapally.

Akhil, in a dance-theatre programme

Akhil Chary, now in Class 6, was reluctant to come to school when he joined 3 years back. He used to run away from school and take things from his classmates’ bags! The teachers have been trained in understanding student needs, their psychology and work in ways to get their cooperation. Plus the teachers really care about the wellbeing of their students. So, his teachers extended lots of patience towards him which helped him slowly integrate into the school. Now Akhil is known as the ‘class clown’ making everyone laugh, plus he’s talented at dancing & acting too! Sadly, he’ll be leaving the school soon, though on a happy note, because he’s cleared the Gurukula competitive exam and will be joining their hostel. He’ll be missed and we hope we can see him again soon!

Sunitha (R), at a plantation drive in her school

Sunitha has completed Class 10 from ZPHS this year, with a high GPA of 9.5! An ace student, she also became adept at computers, sports, dancing and acting; all activities that were brought in to develop students holistically. In the kitchen garden, she learnt to grow seasonal produce and took care of the mango and coconut orchards too. The school has put in the miles to develop a robust extracurricular programme for its students, with the intent of recognising and building their skills. Sunitha has learnt multiple skills and with these under her belt, learnt under the able guidance of the school staff, her future looks promising!

We wish both the absolute best that life can offer!

Sports Spotting!

Fighting fit!

10 years ago, Redlawada School was a small school, with many classes conducted under the comforting shade of the massive tamarind tree. While there was time to play and engage in physical activities, it has only been in the last few years, with the infrastructure development in the school, that we have seen the school’s sports accomplishments improve and increase. While earlier, Kalleda and Matendla schools were literally ‘running away’ with the medals in mandal and district level competitions, it makes us so happy to see Redlawada School making its mark in the sports arena too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 students participated in the Sub-Junior Taekwondo State level competition in Tandoor. With their daily before and after school practice sessions, we are really proud that they won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals! The school is expanding its sports repertoire too and now the kids are learning fencing, martial arts, yoga, in addition to athletics, volleyball, kho-kho and kabaddi. As part of their focus on building physical stamina and sharpen mental abilities through sports, special training sessions are conducted from 5-6:30 am and again from 6-7:30pm. The effort put in not just by the Physical Education Teacher, but by the entire staff to ensure interest in these sessions is admirable. The children who choose these sessions are also very excited to hone their abilities. They show up daily, determined and sincere to practice. They feel good, as do we, so it’s a win-win for everyone!

Help for our Feathered Friends

The education curriculum at RDF schools goes far beyond classroom education. Being socially responsible citizens is taught to RDF children from a young age and this expresses itself in various forms that have a positive impact on the local community too.

With summer temperatures soaring, animals and birds bear the brunt of harsh summers even more than humans. The scarcity of water takes its toll on our feathered and furry friends too!

Rollakal School students and teachers felt bad seeing birds flying in search of water and decided to do something to protect them from the heat. They have made water bowls from recycled jerry cans and hung them in the branches of mango trees in the school grounds. The kitchen staff, students and staff always check the water bowls, replenishing them with clean water.

Now they are delighted to see various birds flocking to the bowls to quench their thirst!

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!

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!