Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

Securing our Girls & their Future

It is a reality of life in India that in many families, educating a girl and more importantly, continuing their education after school is a leap of faith and bucking the ill serving traditions that define gender based roles for boys and girls. RDF institutions play a strong emphasis on girl child education and the school teams champion this cause passionately. Over the years, with our efforts, we have seen many families reconsidering their views about educating girl and being very interested in providing good education to their daughters. However, they still worry about their safety and security. In that regard, RDF institutions are beacons of trust in the local community, so parents are assured that their daughters are in good hands!

JC girls greening their beloved campus!

The journey from a school to a Junior College often entails girls living away from their parents for the first time. Wanting the best of the girls means that they need to stay in a hostel. The RDF VAPV Junior College has become renowned for its quality of education and facilities being provided to its students, including hostel facilities. Till recently, the junior college had 6 rooms in the girls hostel and had to turn down requests for hostel accommodation due to lack of space. Parents from surrounding villages entreated the college team to expand the hostel facilities for girls. Since RDF is also a charitable institution that relies on donations to run, we also needed the requisite funds for construction.

With new donations, we are now constructing a new girls hostel block with 10 rooms. Like all RDF amenities, top level care will go into the ambience of this hostel too – good ventilation, spacious rooms, bed and study tables, which helps students feel comfortable and study in a homely atmosphere.

Special seminars and motivational classes for girls is also on the anvil, such as Leadership Skills, Self Help Programmes and Women’s Empowerment workshops – all with the aim of educating, engaging and empowering girls.

The local communities are very happy with these developments, as are we, as we aim to widen the scope of girl child education and our social impact on empowering rural communities and of course, the strong daughters of these communities! 

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A Juicy Discussion!

It’s a great pleasure for us to see children take charge of their own learning and development. It shows that they feel confident and empowered to do so, which in turn, makes us feel that we must be doing something right!

Raju, a Class 8 student from Matendla School brought a large lemon into school one day and handed it to his Science teacher. This local variety, called ‘Sudi Nimmakaya’ has many medicinal properties and he wanted to explain this to his classmates, plus learn more about it from the teacher. The teacher, being familiar with the uses of the fruit was pleasantly surprised by Raju’s initiative. He went on to explain that this variety of lemon is a natural and ayurvedic medicine for the natural removal of kidney stones, without the use of harsh allopathic medicines.

That led to a vigorous discussion on other fruits and how they are being used to help with various ailments. It was a talkative and engaged class, buzzing with ideas and information! Isn’t this how we want our classrooms and children to be? Curious, eager and engaged? There’s so much more to learning, beyond textbooks!

The children went home and told their parents and elders about this fruit. So a humble lemon brought in by a curious student, has now impacted so many villages. Kidney stones afflict many people and we really hope that the knowledge shared by our students with their local communities will really help them when the need arises!

The Care of a School Community

Ramu is an active and curious 13 year old, studying in Class 8 in the Zilla Parishad High School, Bahadurapally. However, there was a period in his life, a mere 6 months ago, when his health was failing him and his parents, misguided in their belief about his ailment, sought help from a ‘witch doctor’ rather than proper medical advice. It was the efforts of his teachers at his school that eventually made his parents seek a qualified doctor’s help and made Ramu regain his health.

Born into a poor family, Ramu’s parents work as daily wage labourers. While Ramu was an engaged student, he began to suffer from asthma attacks and fits. On a couple of occasions, his teachers rushed him to hospital for treatment, but his parents, averse to western medicine, pulled him out of school and approached a witch doctor. As his condition deteriorated, Ramu couldn’t attend school for almost 6 months, which worried his friends and teachers.

Wanting to do the best for him and find a way to bring him back to school, his teachers met his parents to counsel them about taking proper treatment for his medical conditions, stop consulting the self-professed folk doctor and go to Malla Reddy Hospital. The school team urged his parents to do this for the sake of their son’s life and future and explaining that since Ramu’s condition wasn’t improving, it was urgent that they go to a hospital and meet the right doctor. We are very thankful that they succeeded in convincing Ramu’s parents, who then went to hospital, where under a good doctor’s guidance for 6 months, Ramu’s condition steadily improved!

Now, he’s back at school, much to everyone’s delight! Despite missing school for most of the academic year, Ramu is progressing, with patient help from his classmates and teachers. Now that he’s feeling well, he’s determined to stay in school to complete his education and further studies. He, his younger sister and his parents are immensely grateful for the timely help and advice that they received from the school team. We love the sense of responsibility and care that the schools show towards each and every student and teacher. It is precisely what a community is about and here, the ZPHS community rallied to wholeheartedly support Ramu and his family, improving his life in such positive ways. It’s also a beautiful example for the children, to see this environment of care and compassion for everyone.

A Very Special Birthday!

Bunny is a sweet 10 year old studying in Class 5 in Kalleda School. Unfortunately, his parents passed away when he was young, so he is being looked after by his aunt & uncle. To make the situation more dire, his relatives are financially very poor and hence unable to meet his minimum needs, though they try as much as they could. Bunny feels lonely, but enjoys his time in school with his friends and classmates.

Friends collecting funds for Bunny’s birthday surprise

Ta Da! Friends & teachers celebrating

On Bunny’s birthday, his friends wanted him to feel special & do something nice for him. RDF children themselves come from an economically deprived background & lead hard lives, yet with their values of compassion & care for fellow humans, they spoke to their parents and decided to collect money to gift him a set of new clothes. The staff was really moved by the children’s magnanimous gesture to help their friend and of course, Bunny was all smiles! In addition to this, the children also promised to help him with educational material whenever he needed it!

RDF looks after the needs of children who are either orphaned or from severely economically disadvantaged families, by sponsoring their education & all materials, in addition to providing them with free textbooks, notebooks, uniforms and midday meals. So though Bunny’s educational needs are being sponsored by the school, it was still a really thoughtful and lovely gesture on the part of the students to help him in as many ways as they can. We are so proud that these young children, who themselves don’t lead easy lives are filled with the spirit of generosity and kindness for those they perceive are less advantaged than them. Our hearts couldn’t be fuller!

Bunny is very interested in computers and works hard at learning new computer skills. He wants to become an Engineer. Our computer teacher mentors him, so that he can develop the range of skills that are required to make him feel empowered to learn, procure a good job and help himself financially.

We are Family!

RDF schools are more an extension of children’s families, rather than formal, isolated schools that don’t have a personal connect with children’s lives. Over the past 22 years,  tremendous effort has been put into creating lasting community relationships which is seen through how readily parents and the extended community members come forward to help the school in any way they can. We feel very blessed that each and every parent and village member trusts their local RDF school and that their children are in good hands – and we take this responsibility very seriously too.

Mr. Ramulu with Rakesh, at his home

Since each RDF school is an integral part of the village community, therefore, problems faced by children’s families are taken up seriously to offer support and help. One such case is the story of Sankineni Rakesh, a young hardworking boy from Rollakal School. Rakesh was very active in games and sports and had a polite and pleasing personality, always speaking with regard and care to teachers and students alike. Unfortunately, due to a major financial setback in his family, his family was unable to pay the school fees. In order to help his parents, Rakesh dropped out of school and did not attend school for 3 months. The Headmaster of the school, Mr. Ramulu, became concerned about his family welfare and went to his house to speak to his parents.

Mr. Ramulu, speaking to Rakesh’s father

He counselled the parents on the importance of education and building a career. He also told them that Rakesh had a bright future and that they should consider sending him back to school and not worry about the fees. His parents were convinced that going to school was the right way and decided to continue his studies. So, with the inspiration of the Headmaster and the support of his subject teachers, Rakesh worked hard to catch up with what he had missed. This story has a happy ending as Rakesh cleared his Class 10 SSC Board exams with a GPA of 6.3, which made everyone really happy!

Rakesh and his family is thrilled with his results and came to the school to thank everyone for convincing them to send Rakesh back to school and not worry about their financial problem and fee payment. This is the power of community relationships – creating an engaged and empowered community that always helps each other mutually!

 

Our Champions – our Alumni

RDF alumni are its biggest supporters. In the RDF VAPV Junior College, they have been instrumental in driving up enrolment in the college!

As the academic year ends in April, young hopefuls who have just graduated from school after the Class 10 SSC Exams are looking for advice, suggestions and referrals for good Intermediate colleges. We are very proud to let our readers know that all eyes fall on Kalleda because the Junior College has become renowned for its results and facilities.

This year, the college had a pass percentage of 87% in 1st year and 97% in 2nd year. The glowing reports given by our college alumni about the experienced staff, the teaching methods, well equipped labs and good hostel facilities for boys and girls are some of the major reasons why our alumni remember their college with fondness. The ambience in the college is refreshing and invigorating which produces an enriching atmosphere for the pursuit of academics, sports and extracurricular activities.

Many alumni recommend their siblings, relatives and friends to seek admission in the college. They meet the families, speak to them about their experiences in the college and true experience, that too a positive one, definitely creates a good impression! Everyone has said that they feel they have made the right choice with the right institution.

We are very happy and proud that our alumni are our biggest champions who play such a vital role in spreading the good word about RDF through word of mouth. By doing so, we believe they are empowered to make good choices and help bring communities together!

 

True Education

Life for rural people is hard. Most families are either employed in agricultural work or in daily wage labour. They are away for a significant portion of the day, working long hours to earn some money to make ends meet and support their families financially.

This is the reality that RDF children grow up in, so it is an accepted part of life for rural children to start working when they are young to help their parents. The team at RDF Redlwada School who sent in this story was sharing that generally rural people are hard working people, therefore working and helping wherever they can is a quality that rural children imbibe naturally. Not only do they help with chores at home, but many also help in the fields during vacations.

Perhaps this is the reason that RDF children help and support each other so willingly. We believe that being generous and exhibit kindness and help is a crucial value and life skill. Therefore, while supporting their academic pursuits is an important aspect of their school life, so is engaging with them in their daily life and work, encouraging them to assist their parents wherever they can, thus empowering them to take responsibility for their lives and the community. This is the true meaning of education of us!