Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Experience is the Best Teacher!

RDF children belong to families that sustain themselves on agricultural or daily wage labour. Over decades, due to reliance on chemical based agricultural methods and climate change, farmers have faced immense loss. Therefore a field trip to learn about organic methods of farming was precisely the kind of empowering journey for our children that would allow them to learn from live examples and pass it on to their communities.

On a hot sunny day, the children of Class 9 of RDF Kalleda High School walked nearly 5 kilometres to farms that had gained renown for using organic farming methods. The farmers were very willing to pass on their experience and knowledge to the children, which we were very grateful for. The children and staff observed drip irrigation system,  sprinkler system and crops such as paddy, maize, mango and vegetable gardens too. The children were bursting with questions and the farmers explained everything to them patiently, which was a wonderful interaction to see!

Through the trip, the children learnt the benefits of using bio fertilizers, how it improves soil fertility and how to obtain high yields. They understood the damaged caused to the soil, and the microbiome that are essential to crop growth, if we used chemical fertilizers and pesticides. After this informative trip, the children visited a dairy farm in order to learn about livestock, milk production, caring for milch animals, their diseases and how to prvent them.

All in all, the children were thrilled with their outing and felt that they had learnt a lot from the farmers. They are now eager to speak to their community elders about using such methods in their own field. We absolutely love the feeling of responsibility and empowerment in these children, who genuinely want to strive towards making their communities economically stronger. Hats off to them!

Advertisements

Of Kitchen gardens and Kindness!

Children, hard at work in the school farm

The lush produce at the school

Every RDF school has a thriving organic kitchen garden/farm in order to grow some of their own produce for the midday meals and also to help the local economy.  Seeing fruits, vegetable, grains and lentils grow from seed to cooked stages really inspires our children and makes them an active part of the food production process in their school. It also instills a sense of kindness and care towards nature and her resources.

In RDF Rollakal School, the creation and management of this vegetable garden means that they do not need to buy vegetables from the market for the midday meal programme. This also allows them to reduce expenditure. Some of the vegetables that they have successfully grown are brinjal, tomato, lady’s finger, ivy gourd, bottle gourd and bitter gourd.

Farmer Venu Rao in RoS

It has also brought the local community in Rollakal together. Due to water scarcity, the school’s neighbour and farmer, Karimilla Venu Rao, has been kind enough to supply water for the school’s farm. We are immensely grateful to him for helping us in this time of need. We absolutely love this culture of kindness and kinship towards the land and the people who till the land and this power of kindness that that brings us together.

It once again goes to show the power of trust and relationships within the local community that allow RDF schools to thrive and grow!

Soaring Creativity!

Hard at work on the fountain

The MPC and BPC 2nd Year students from the RDF VAPV Junior College showed their prowess at Science and their inventiveness by making a functional water fountain. This working model of a water fountain was made entirely from recycled and waste material which the students found in the college store room and in their homes. The icing on the cake is that this model only cost an affordable Rs. 950 to make!

Nagaraju, working on the fountain

G. Nagaraju, studying in BPC 2nd Year took the initiative to start this project. In his own words –“I took inspiration from APJ Abdul Kalam. I remember reading that while he was studying, his teacher was explaining the flight of a seagull over the sea and fascinated by that, he decided to become a pilot. I took inspiration from his life when I thought of preparing a water fountain. I got together with my friends and told them about my idea. Then we took suggestions from our Physics lecturer and finished the project within 6 days!”

“This is the best project that I have done in college and we decided to dedicate this water fountain to our batch (2016-18). I will never forget my college days. My time here has inspired me to become a scientist.”

The fountain, finished with a flourish!

The fountain occupies pride of place in front of the classrooms on the Junior College campus. We are so proud of the leadership and creativity of students like Nagaraju, who take ownership of their learning and also generously involve their friends. We hope his and all our students’ dreams soar, just like the seagull in Dr. Kalam’s story!

The Wonders of Chess

Learning the immensely complex and fascinating game of Chess is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, chess, has been shown to increase reasoning, logical, abstract and analytical abilities. It also develops concentration and sharpens the brain. Learning chess, like any skill, takes discipline and we are really happy to see many RDF children take to this game of their own volition.

A healthy mind and a fit body contribute greatly to the overall wellbeing of a person and this is a fundamental principle at RDF schools. In Kalleda School, the sounds of chess have been resounding in its corridors for years! Children choose it naturally and derive a lot of enjoyment from it. Children are learning the game from the lesson ‘The Wonderful World of Chess’. They play the game on a regular basis, right from the time they are in Primary school. They even want to play it during their leisure time. We can see the improvement in their analytical and decision making abilities, their memory skills, as well making them feel confident about their abilities, which is essential for their mental and emotional growth.

We heartily recommend introducing chess at a young age for children and watch their mental, emotional and psychological abilities blossom! It’s a wonderful way to empower them and believe in themselves.

The Silver Oak Tree Nourishing RDF!

Silver Oaks, an international school in Hyderabad has been helping RDF schools in multiple ways for over a decade! This relationship has blossomed and grown stronger by leaps and bounds each year, which has hugely contributed to RDF’s work with rural, underprivileged children.

The Silver Oaks management and staff have created a sense of compassion in the students towards rural children through awareness activities and school visits. Each year, not only the management and staff, but also the students have been saving money to donate to RDF. They have initiated a unique programme called ‘Coins for Our Country’ – a fundraising drive, wherein students saved money from their pocket money for RDF’s cause. Other creative ways that have been employed are organizing bazaars, doing chores, creating art etc. This year, we received Rs. 10, 00,000 from the school! We truly feel blessed at the empathy and effort of the Silver Oaks community!

In addition, they also organize regular teacher training programmes for our teachers in order to improve their teaching skills and employ child friendly activities to build a fun and engaging classroom environment. Recently, Maths teachers from our schools visited Silver Oaks to interact with their Maths teachers. They sat in and observed their classes, interacted with the students and learnt interesting ways to teach the subject. Some RDF students also accompanied the teachers, in order to observe the school practices and meet the students.

Our teachers and students feel very motivated with this level of support and mentoring. The Maths teachers were quite excited about their visited and are already implementing the new methods they learnt for teaching and learning of Maths. In this way, we are working hard, with the constant support of our well wishers like Silver Oaks School, in order to provide our deserving students and teachers with an energetic learning environment

Honouring Honesty

In RDF schools, academic focus and achievement is just one cog in the wheel of holistic education. Emphasis is also given on building children’s character and life skills. Honesty towards ourselves, our peers and the extended community is a characteristic that we aim to build in our children and we take it as the highest level of quality in human character.

In RDF Rollakal High School, we saw the fruit of our efforts when young G. Rakesh of Class 3 showed absolute honesty when he found a Rs. 1000 note in the school playground. He immediately handed over the note to the school Headmaster who commended him on his honesty and undertook efforts to trace the owner. Children like Rakesh are role models for everyone and we are very proud of his actions!

 

Scientific Creativity on Fire!

It all starts with an idea!

RDF is always encouraging its students to dive deep into a particular theme, topic or subject through interesting activities. Science is a subject that comes alive through the practical demonstration of experiments that can explain concepts easily. Our teachers also go through extensive training in order to teach their subjects better and help ignite children’s imagination.

Fine tuning with the Science teacher

Success!

This is precisely what was created in Kalleda School during a Science lesson recently. M. Yashwanth of Class 8 and M. Rajender of Class 9, with the help of their Science teacher, came up with the idea of preparing liquefied petroleum gas by mixing fire and petrol through a scientific contraption. This concept is used routinely in small and large scale industries, however our students were able to innovate and create a very low cost working model using plastic bottles, pipes, a air pump and a burner! The model was successful and was exhibited at the District Level Science exhibition. The experiment was praised by everyone and got 1st place and was selected to be shown at the State Level exhibition. While they didn’t win at the State Level, this encourage and inspiration they receive in school helps boost their confidence and also get them fired up to continue engaging in scientific experiments.

District Level triumph!

We have seen that providing children with a hands-on, learning environment really enhances their interest and curiosity in a subject, which then deepens their understanding, leading to further inventiveness. This is what we strive for – happy and creative children – letting their imagination soar!