Archive for the ‘Parent Engagement’ Category

Understanding Underground Water Depletion

India is in the throes of its relentless and harsh summer. Nowhere are people more at the mercy of summer, fraught with anxiety over crops and water, than in rural areas.  The bedrock of the Indian economy, agriculture, is faced with increasing anxiety with each passing summer, due to erratic weather patterns caused by deforestation, lack of rainfall and depletion of underground water.

This is the reality that RDF’s rural children and their families live in. In order to understand the seriousness of this problem, the Science and Social Studies teachers in Matendla School decided to give a project to students of Class 8 and 9, wherein they had to understand the reasons for ground water depletion and the challenges faced by farmers due to this. The students decided to meet some farmers at their fields and were accompanied by the Science and Social Studies teachers.

The farmers showed them the irrigation systems which are created though agricultural wells and borewells. They explained that underground water levels were depleting due to erratic rain and deforestation. This is resulting in farmers being forced to rely on digging borewells, which is also a temporary solution.

While an immediate or sustainable solution is not yet forthcoming, we hope that some of our students pursue sustainability and water conservation research methods which can be implemented in their villages. At the very least, students are very aware of the causes and remain conscious and mindful of water usage in their homes which is a good start!

Community Champions

Today, we would like to celebrate the community spirit that is being created in the 2 government schools being supported by RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation in Bahadurapally.  When the 1st RDF school was started 2 decades ago in Kalleda, an early realization was the need to build a strong relationship between the school and the local community. Thereafter, one of the key aspects of RDF’s holistic education model is its community engagement programs in which every parent is seen as a stakeholder in the school’s operations and activities.

The new water filter

The new water filter

RDF’s partnership with the 2 Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored schools commenced only 2 years ago. RDF’s best practices were adopted by both schools, with a lot of mentoring provided by senior RDF staff. Parental involvement in the school was demonstrated in the Mandal Parishal Primary School when Mr. Swamy, the father of a Class 4 student, Veera Kumar, wanted to ensure that children have access to safe drinking water.

Bearing the cost of the filter entirely on his own, the modest Mr. Swamy bought the filter at a cost of Rs. 16,000 and donated to the school. The total project cost was Rs. 25,000. This was when the teachers and the head cook stepped up to share the remaining cost collectively. Of course, the utilization of the filter would not have been possible without the plumbing work. In a noble gesture, Mr. Michael, the father of another student, Yeshuva of Class 5, offered to do the plumbing free of cost. Thus, the school received the precious gift of a much needed water filter, with the help of the community champions!

Little children drinking clean & filtered water

Little children drinking clean & filtered water

These are the case studies that serve to demonstrate the efficacy of a good schooling system – a system that goes beyond academic work and grades. The system provides quality in education not just through its academic work, but also through the quality of its relationships. We feel very humbled and thank the parents and staff who extended their resources,  help and support to benefit every child in the school.  

 

A Village of Generosity

Mr. Suresh making the cash donation to Rollakal School Headmaster

Mr. Suresh making the cash donation to Rollakal School Headmaster

We see over and over again how simple rural folk have an unmatched spirit of generosity towards their community. Parents and villagers readily assist our schools in various ways which help with the smooth running of the schools. With the looming summer heat and water shortage, we are grateful to Rollakal School Parent Committee member, K. Prakash, whose friend, Mr. Suresh, recently made a much needed donation to the school. He donated Rs. 6000 towards purchase of a mini water tank which will help with the water needs in the school tremendously. We feel blessed to be working in a culture of kindness and compassion!

Engaged Parents and Community

RDF team addressing ZPHS parents

RDF team addressing ZPHS parents

The Zilla Parishad High School continued with its commitment to keep parent community involved in the school activities and progress. At this meeting, the RDF team was present to interact with parents regarding not merely informing them about children’s progress and the various activities in the school over the year, but how to keep them proactive in their child’s learning.

Parents were keen to know the changes in the school and details of provisions given to the students. Parents were aware of the remedial classes, additional coaching classes and snacks being provided.

Children who participated in the National Karate Championship were introduced and this motivated parents on the importance of sports coaching and they agreed to send their children for sports related and other activities being organised.

Teachers going over student records with parents

Teachers going over student records with parents

Parent records were updated with submission of Aadhar Card copies and updated contact numbers. Thereafter the class teachers had discussions with parents individually about their child’s progress and distributed report cards.