Archive for the ‘Parent Engagement’ Category

Friday-Dryday

The Telangana Government has launched an initiative ‘Friday-Dryday’ to combat diseases arising from mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water. This has been taken up by RDF schools with enthusiasm, as an integral aspect of working with the local communities and a commitment to social responsibility.

The Matendla School team comprising of students and teachers, along with local leaders, created an awareness campaign to help villagers understand the danger of storing water in uncovered barrels, drums and pots in and around their houses for long periods of time. They were made to understand how mosquitoes lay eggs in open water, creating breeding grounds and creating various diseases from mosquito bites.

This situation is preventable, so in response to this scheme and the Matendla School campaign, the villagers have started a ‘dry day’ on each Friday, when they gather to clean stagnant water in their homes and in the village, to ensure areas are dry. We’re happy to see the community working together to create safe surrounding and contributing to their wellbeing.

The Magnanimity of our Local Community

Naveen, being facilitated on his birthday by the school management

As an NGO, we are able to sustain ourselves due to the generous and committed support of individual and corporate donors who believe in our vision and donate monetarily and in kind. Over the past 23 years, RDF schools have established themselves as leading, holistic institutions that provide a nurturing and stable environment to rural children in which to study and develop themselves in many areas, in addition to academics. Therefore, it is gratifying for us when the local community that has watched the growth of our schools and seen the impact on their children, also donate in many ways to our cause.

Enjoying a nurturing midday meal

Naveen Kumar, a Class 9 student of Kalleda School, and has been impacted positively by RDF’s values of Educate, Engage and Empower, wanted to give back to the school by doing something special on his birthday. He discussed this with his father who agreed with his idea and donated 20 kgs of rice to the school on the occasion! This was used for the Midday Meal on the day. We thank each and every one of our supporters, right from our rural communities to the world community who have come forward to help us. It makes us who we are today!

Clean Villages, Clear Intentions!

Villagers & students, clearing a ground together

Completing school is just one aspect of how RDF engages with its school community. Our education methodology focuses strongly on creating well rounded individuals who care not just on themselves as individuals, but are also inspired to act and create change in the world. This change begins with home.

Social awareness is a vital part of our education and every aspect of what they learn also focuses on how it can help their local, rural communities in positive ways. Inspired by the ‘Swachch Bharat’ (Clean India) campaign instituted by the central and state governments, the students of Matendla School organized an awareness campaign to keep their villages clean. The entire campaign was conceptualized and implemented by the students! The locals participated enthusiastically too and together, they pledged to work together and keep their environment beautiful and clean.

We are super proud of these young agents of change and the energy and vigor with which they take on challenges!

Traditional Wisdom in a Modern World

Kids engrossed in a simple game with stones

Education and school brings the world to the doorstep of the rural children we work with. It helps them understand the world and learn ways of engaging with it. While the aim is to provide them with a quality of education that empowers them with skills and tools to lead independent lives and be free of poverty, simultaneously, we also ensure that they remain rooted in traditional practices and wisdom too.

A ‘talipot’ thatched hut

As the current generation is living in a dizzying digital age, with its impact penetrating rural areas as well, we encourage our students to play traditional games too. As cities get more urbanized and electrified, our students see their families build homes with natural materials such as the ‘talipot’, a native palm variety, used to build thatched houses that keep their homes naturally cool in summer.

They see and learn animal domestication, with the cow being worshipped and being a provider for milk and cow dung. Washing their house with cow dung once a week ensures protection from mosquitoes, insects and flies – so much better than chemical based disinfectants! Rearing hens is common and a source of income for rural families.

With widespread degradation of the environment, rural wisdom teaches our students about how to live in harmony with nature and her creations. There is so much that they learn from their elders, in addition to what they learn in school. It’s no surprise that our students are very eco conscious and green activists, an attitude and ability that we hope they carry into their future too!

The Care of a Community

Over the 23 years since RDF started its 1st institution, we had a vision of impacting the local community through starting a school. So it wasn’t just about educating rural, underprivileged children, in order to give them the tools to live a life out of poverty; but also to get the community involved in the school. Over 2 decades later, we are proud to say that all RDF institutions are seen as beacons of excellence, with active participation from local villagers, who help in any way they can.

Banoth Mothilal is an alumnus of Kalleda School and RDF VAPV Junior College. He belongs to a schedule tribe and his father is an illiterate farm, who has put in years of toil to ensure that Mothilal finishes his education. Mothilal never let his parents down and was a very sincere student, earning the admiration of his classmates and professors. He got 8.8 GPA in the SSC Exams, 916/1000 in the Intermediate exams and 17,000 rank in EAMCET. He was pursuing Civil Engineering in Warangal when life struck a blow and he fell sick for 3 months, being diagnosed with PNH (Paroxysmal Noctural Hemoglobinuria), in which the platelets count is severely affecting, thus affecting his ability to study, work or do any work for a length of time. He was treated at Global and Good Life Hospital in Hyderabad and discharged recently.

The illness has taken a toll on him and this once active boy is tired and unable to attend college. The medicines have made him gain weight and he is unable to walk or stand. But he nurses an intense desire to resume college and become an engineer. His friends and professors from the Junior College visited him and have offered to help in any way they can. This has revived some of Mothilal’s spirits. Their visit and kind words have given him hope that he can recover.

The bond shared in college has not been forgotten and we are grateful that the college community has stepped forward to help him when he needs help. We are praying for Mothilal’s recovery and achieving everything he desires.

The Importance of Educating Girls

Times are slowly changing in rural India when girls are encouraged to go to school, remain in school and pursue their dreams. We see this happen in the RDF institutions and with RDF’s best practices firmly in place in the Tech Mahindra-RDF partnership Government schools, we are seeing similar stories emerging from these 2 schools too. We find such stories very inspiring and this gives us hope that things are moving in the right direction. While education is crucial to help regain financial independence and live lives out of poverty, girl child education is a social change taking firm root.

Jyothi

Jyothi is a Class 6 student in ZPHS who has been helping her mother who works in a canteen on daily wages, during holidays and at home, since her father passed away when she was very young. Gaining courage from her mother, who advised her to remain in school and find a good job, Jyothi has been diligent in academics and extracurricular activities. She loves quiz competitions! She’s working hard with the hope of getting a Government scholarship for her higher education.

Manisha

Manisha is a Class 9 student in the same school. Though the family is going through the recent bereavement of the loss of her father a few months ago, again, it’s her mom who has encouraged her to go to school and remain focused on her education. We see her mother’s fortitude in Manisha, as she’s getting back to life in school and pursuing studies with care and help from her teachers and peers. She also excels in sports and was awarded Rs. 1000 for Best Student by TNR Academy.

The future is bright for girls like Jyothi and Manisha and it shows the importance of having family support and an enabling environment at home. We honour their mothers and many such families who forge ahead with their goals with grace and tenacity, despite grave setbacks and challenges. When we see such inspiring change in rural communities, it gives us hope for the future of girls.

A Community of Support

RDF’s Midday Meal programme has been crucial to the physical and mental development of our rural children and the local community recognises and supports this initiative actively. The children receive a free midday meal each day of the school year which includes unlimited servings of rice, dal and a local and seasonal vegetable. 5 years back, RDF had to stop serving a daily egg with the meal due to funds shortage. However, many people have stepped forward to provide an egg during ‘Annadanam’, which allows an individual or organisation to recognise and honour an important life event.

The local, rural community, despite being farmers or small scale workers themselves, also actively helps the schools. In Rollakal School, some villagers have funded Annadanam with eggs! The Village Committee also provides a midday meal with chicken once a year. They also help by contributing to the school infrastructure and activities and doing their best to encourage students by providing smalls gifts to boost their education. This deep level of engagement is why we call ourselves the RDF Community, where stakeholders have the best interests of each other at heart and despite living humbly and coming from underprivileged backgrounds, the depth of their support and social responsibility for RDF’s progress is amazing!