Archive for the ‘Youth Empowerment’ Category

Bridging Communities

RDF’s work extends well beyond the classrooms and the walls of the school. Community engagement is a core part of our mission. Over the years, each school team has worked with utmost commitment to motivate the rural communities about the power of education, educating girl children, mitigating social issues, increasing awareness about environment issues etc. With a core tenet of transparency, many bridges have been built between each school and the rural communities in which they operate.

Our holistic education philosophy and academic and extracurricular accomplishments have led many organisations and individuals to visit our school, with a view to understand our work and find meaningful ways to contribute.

Rollakal School was visited by some students from a Hyderabad based corporate school and their parents, with a view to meet students and clarify subject specific doubts. There was a lively discussion regarding various subjects and the visitors were impressed with the students’ understanding and knowledge about various subjects and concepts.

The Class 10 students met separately to talk about the Class 10 exams, get advice on preparation, sitting for competitive exams and career development. They also conducted a fun quiz competition, which met with an enthusiastic response. Together, they played volleyball, badminton and cricket, ending the day on a high.

While leaving, they said, “The village and the school environment is filled with greenery. It’s a beautiful environment. We are very happy that our children enjoyed themselves with the children in the school, like their brothers and sisters.”

Alumnus Volunteer Service

Kamlesh & PET (R&L), doing morning drills

Kinnear Kamlesh completed Intermediate (Class 12 equivalent) from the RDF VAPV Junior College this year, with a first division! His parents have moved to Maharashtra as labourers in a project. Inspired and motivated with the encouragement he received in the Junior College, he decided to give back to society by volunteering as an Assistant Physical Trainer. Since he’s pursuing his Bachelor’s degree through distance education and only needs to attend college on Sundays, he felt helping in the Junior College would be a productive use of his time.

Basketball practice with students

He says, “I feel so happy to give service where I studied. I have learnt discipline, honesty and punctuality from my lecturers here and I want to help other students like me by being a role model for them. Every day, I am learning new things from PET sir (Physical Education Trainer) and assisting him to teach the students. I am good at Kabaddi and would like to train and send students to participate in Nationals and get medals.”

We feel proud that Kamlesh feels empowered to make selfless choices such as this. With his great attitude and dedication to service, we are sure he will continue to be an asset to the Junior College team!

A Touching Turnaround

We love to share stories of turnarounds for our students as we believe that a supportive environment in school, when students do not get that care and attention at home, is instrumental in creating this positive shift for them.

Upender came to the Tech Mahindra Foundation-RDF partnership government Primary school in Class 2, from an orphanage. He was visibly mentally disturbed and had no interest in being in school. He would keep running away and be brought back by the local police. He couldn’t read, write and had difficulty grasping subject matter. His orphanage hostel warden requested the school to take extra care of him, which they did.

Now in Class 5 and with the consistent encouragement and patience shown by the school staff, Upendar has become more mellow and balanced. In the process, he discovered his talent in art and craft. He can sit quietly for hours, drawing cartoons, loves to make craft items with waste paper and also helps make clay Lord Vinyaka idols during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival!

Cheerfully distributing snacks

He is mentally differently abled, but with the love and support of the school, he demonstrates a high degree of independence, responsibility and leadership in undertaking various activities. He gets the stage ready for school assembly everyday, he helps serve snacks and sets the ‘walking cones’ for the student queues. He does all this without being asked!

Getting kids in line for lunch, with a smile on his face

We are deeply grateful to all his teachers and school friends who have helped Upender regain a sense of purpose in his life. Their care has helped this young boy feel safe and nurtured which has turned his life around. He will continue to need support in order to become even more fully independent as he grows up. We hope many more will come forward to help him in whatever way they can.

A Working Vacation

Working, with a smile on his face!

Ranjith Udutha is an Intermediate 1st Year (equivalent of Class 11) residential student at RDF VAPV Junior College. During Dusheraa vacation, Ranjith went home to his village and decided that he would utilize his time working alongside his parents who are cotton pickers. Cotton picking is hard work, but Ranjith was determined to financially assist his family. Due to his enthusiasm to work, he insisted that his parents rest for some days.

 

 

 

 

 

We really appreciate Ranjith’s spirit and  thoughtfulness in looking after his parents and help out at home too. In fact, we are super proud of all our students, who understand the sacrifices their parents are making, to ensure that they remain in school, complete their education and create a financially stable and better life for themselves. So we often see many students helping and working during vacations. Their sincerity and determination inspires us in many ways and makes our work all the more meaningful!

 

Sport-on!

Manoj & Chinni’s win in a local newspaper

Rollakal School began as a small school with the shade of trees being makeshift classrooms. It has come a long way, with the cheery white school building and the spacious grounds taking pride of place in the local community. The grounds have been put to excellent use to develop sports abilities in our students, with school students achieving many wins in various sports.

Class 4 students are given special training every year in order to gain admission in State run sports schools. Admission means the children’s tuition, boarding, lodging and sports coaching is 100% covered by the State Government. Ambala Chinnu and Solithi Manoj are 2 proud students who have made it to the Hakimpet Sports School, after a State Level selection that had students from 33 districts participate and compete for admission! Chinnu’s and Manoj’s fathers are toddy tappers which only provide them with a meager income. Chinnu’s father also had an accident when he fell from a palm tree which doesn’t allow him to do much work. Thus the burden of providing for the entire family has fallen on his mother.

Chinni, at home, with his proud parents

With their education and sports training taken care of, both families feel relieved and look forward to their career in sports and a better life, free from financial burdens.

Self Creation and Self Empowerment

Education is crucial for rural children because it allows them to gain qualifications and skills that make them employable. A viable source of employment means a life free of poverty and its incumbent challenges.

Making beautiful handcrafted paper creations

While education certainly provides the academic degree that allows students to complete higher education and start a career in their chosen field, it’s also imperative that they learn other vocational skills too. Thus, at RDF, our approach is holistic, focusing on children’s innate talent, developing their interest and curiosity in meaningful ways and also teaching them new skills. Hence, there is a strong focus on making time for extracurricular activities, which our students enjoy tremendously!

In Redlawada School, the students spent time learning how to make beautiful decorative items using waste paper. Recycling and upcycling also helps them see old and used materials in new ways and amps up their creativity. Once they catch on to an activity, the interest levels go up and the creativity and thinking ability just burgeons! Such is the power of an open and nurturing learning environment.

A finished piece, held with pride!

Learning art and craft helps our children apply their minds in imaginative ways, plus develops proficiency in new areas that can generate a source of income and employment once they’re older. We’ve had several former students start small businesses in carpentry, tailoring, catering, opening a restaurant, serving the local community and the local economy.

This is precisely the empowerment of rural children that remains a constant vision for us and guides our work.

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.