Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

Student Endeavours and Empowered Communities

RDF schools have been built on the premise of Educating, Engaging and Empowering underprivileged rural children such that they learn tools through their years in RDF schools that will enable them to gain employment and break free from their lives of poverty. At a micro level, this is possible only through deeply engaging with each child and their family, nurturing community relationships based on trust and faith.

RDF staff, who also belong to the same communities and have led similar lives, have an intimate knowledge of the struggles that children and their families go through; having gone through the similar challenges of financial difficulties, working hard to complete schooling, working as students to put themselves through college, simultaneously trying to support their struggling families at home.  Having lived through similar circumstances, RDF staff make the effort to create personal relationships with the children, guiding and mentoring them and celebrating their talents, skills and achievements through school and even after school. This care and support system provide huge encouragement to the children and gives them mental and emotional strength to face their life and continue to work hard in school.

Saritha passed out of Redlawada School last year and joined a Junior College in the neighbouring small town of Hanamkonda. She recently informed the school that she topped the 1st Year Intermediate Examinations in the CEC group. Though she has graduated from the school, she, like many other students, keep in touch with the school and update them about their higher education. The school also keeps in touch with families and extends their support whenever required. Therefore the school and Saritha’s family is celebrating her accomplishment and together prays and wishes that she continues with determination for her further success in life.

Chandana, a Class 10 student in the school, has also been putting in a great deal of effort in her academics and extracurricular activities in school. Her parents are agricultural labourers who toil hard to send their only daughter to school so that she can lead a better life. However, Chandana is a sweet and humble girl who understands her parent’s troubles. So she spends all her spare time helping her parents in the fields with every Sunday and each holiday dedicated to working together with her parents in the field which gives them some respite from grinding physical labour.

We celebrate the spirit and compassion of our children, their families and our local communities which includes our local staff , through these stories. We take pride in their everyday lives, their journey and not just the end achievement. This is RDF’s way of creating empowered individuals who can create empowered communities!

Community Circle of Trust

The importance of parent and community engagement has been paramount since the establishment of the first RDF school in 1996.  Each school has put in tremendous effort to built trust based relationships with its parent community. Since the students are first generation learners, it becomes crucial for the schools to be transparent in their processes and that parents understand how the schools are being run.

Thus, we recognise that parents are key stakeholders in the sustainability of their local RDF school. Rather than merely informing parents about student’s progress, the formation of a parent committee brings in value and experience in key decisions, which shows the trust and faith the school management has in the local community.

In Matendla School, regular review meetings are conducted regarding school operations and student’s education. A unique support structure has been created through which students and parents are invited to review their own progress and performance. This feedback is combined with staff feedback to create a more wholesome development plan for each student! This also puts the student in charge of their reviewing their own learning and progress.

This kind of open process creates a circle of encouragement and trust in which the opinion and feeling of each student and parent is valued. This allows the student to improve in academic and non academic areas too. Parents feel happy with this level of involvement and convey their regard and satisfaction for our processes.

Our Role in Enrollment

The Telangana Government has launched the ‘Professor Jaya Shankar Badibata Programme’ which aims to drive enrollment levels in schools by motivating and encouraging families to enroll school age children and school dropouts to join neighbourhood government schools.

ZPHS students in the school enrollment rally in Bahadurapally

As part of this initiative, students of the Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Zilla Parishad High School, along with staff from ZPHS and the Mandal Parishal Primary School, conducted an awareness program and rally in and around the village of Bahadurapally.

Students, as spokespersons of their school, spoke to parents to encourage them to send their children to school, giving details about the high quality of education and facilities that are being provided as part of the school improvement partnership between TMF and RDF.

Students talking to the local community during the drive

The villagers responded positively and were found to be aware of best practices being implemented both the government schools through existing parents and children.

With many school age children still not in school and school dropouts getting marginalized in society; such initiatives are crucial to helping families making an informed decision to send their wards to school.

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Games for the teachers

Girl child education is a prime focus area in its vision to educate, engage and empower rural children and communities. It has worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to convince rural people to invest in the education of their daughters, encouraging them to view girls as equals, with a right to education and providing employment to women.

The Headmaster addressing the audience

Therefore, the occasion of Women’s Day on 8th March provided a platform to honour the girls and women who are a part of RDF schools. In RDF Kalleda School, the Headmaster addressed the audience about the importance of events like Women’s Day and RDF’s focus on providing education to girls in order to skill them, become earning members in their families and to do away with the practice of child marriage.

 Thereafter, the female teachers were invited to speak about issues they have faced in their personal lives and in society in order to live a life with dignity. They urged the audience to understand the biases faced by women and requested them to treat women in society fairly and honour their role in society.

Having fun playing ‘Musical Chairs’

Fun games such a tug of war, balloon breaking and aim and throw were organized that everyone enjoyed thoroughly and brought in an air of gaiety to the day. While Women’s Day is just 1 day in the year, RDF continues its work with rural communities every day of the year to empower them in numerous ways, in order to bring about changes that can create a more equitable society at the grassroot level.

Redlawada’s Sports Glory!

The RDF team is very proud to announce the well deserved sporting accomplishments of RDF Redlawada School! The school has clocked up, not one, but two international sports accolades in 2016! This is a first for Redlawada School students making it to the international arena.

rs-kabaddi-team

The Redlawada School Kabaddi team

In September, Redlawada School made history with 10 students making it to the National Student Olympics in Kabaddi! Another feather in RDF’s cap was that this was the very first time that an RDF Kabaddi team won at State Level. That an RDF Kabaddi team has made it from the State to the International arena is a huge accomplishment and inspiration for the RDF family. It was the hardworking and persevering Redlawada students who achieved this record for RDF! The team has been selected for the international edition in Nepal, to be organised later this year.

The Redlawada School Kho-Kho team

The Redlawada School Kho-Kho team

The school’s Kho-Kho team has also been selected for the International Student Olympics in Dhaka, Bangladesh. will be traveling to Dhaka, Bangladesh. The date of the tournament has not yet been finalized and will be tentatively released on 15th January 2017. The 7 member team made it to the International level after successful completion of all qualifying events at the District,  State and National levels. It is a matter of great pride for the team members, their families and the village of Redlawada because for the first time, Redlawada children are participating in international events. The outstanding performance of the children in the competitions can be attributed to the proper guidance provided by the Physical Education Teacher and the special diet that was given to the students. The special diet comprising of milk, eggs and bengal gram helped in increasing the stamina of the children. The staff and fellow students in the school have ceaselessly encouraged the children to take up sports and word hard at achieving personal excellence.

We now hope that the children’s aspirations to win further honour for their school come true!

Creating Social Awareness on Intoxicants and Tobacco

RDF’s holistic approach to education involves the core component of a robust Social Awareness Program. Helping local communities with social issues is part of all RDF schools’ philosophy.

The staff in Matendla School was growing increasingly worried about the consumption of pan masala, guthka and alcohol by senior citizens in the village. Concerned about the ill effects of such habits on the impressionable mind of young children and other family members, the staff wanted to do something that would not just help create awareness but also ensure that RDF alumni, children and the wider community not fall prey to such vices.

ms-dec-2The school organised a well planned evening wherein folk songs and a skit were used as tools to allow the community to understand the gravity of the situation. The skit was put together by students of Class 8, who used humour to highlight the issue. The audience was able to easily relate to the problems presented and stated that it reflected their social reality. The staff also conducted a presentation to explain the various medical problems that can come about as a result of such habits.ms-dec-3

We hope that the right message was conveyed to everyone present and the efforts of the Matendla School team help the villagers manage the situation proactively with the information provided to them.

Helping Hands

Kalleda School has been encouraging and motivating their students to help their parents at home and in farm work as this can help them take on responsibility at home and therefore allow them to be responsible citizens in the future.

Students helping a local farmer in his field

Students helping a local farmer in his field

The school and students have been discussing how they can help parents at home by becoming more sensitive to the hardships their parents undergo to support their livelihood and academics.

Students are repairing taps1

Students helping repair taps in the school

There are several ways that students have been helping their parents – they have been helping during holidays with plantation, sowing and other field work; helping in household chores such as cleaning, cooking and fetching water as well as cultivating a kitchen garden in their homes. They have also been motivated to help by keeping their rooms clean and keeping their books and other things in an orderly manner at home. At school too, they are being encouraged to maintain their classrooms and common areas.

The children are already aware of the sacrifices being made by their parents. Discussing this with peers allows them to motivate each other and develop more discipline and attention towards responsibilities they can take up at home and help their parents.