Archive for the ‘RDF Kalleda School’ Category

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.

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More than a breath of fresh air!

Summer is in full swing and the heat gets to everyone – young and old. Areas where RDF schools are located are some of the hottest in Telangana. Air conditioning is simply not an option for people living in rural areas, but everyone has an intense desire to have access to cooling.

Students, assembling the materials & taking stock

However, Lady Luck was on our side! Synchrony Financial, a multinational organisation that has been supporting RDF in areas such as English development, Computer skills enhancement, soft skills and job skills training, on site in Kalleda School as well in their Hyderabad Head Office decided to recruit students of Classes 8 & 9 from Kalleda School to develop a clever cooling system that does not need electricity! The icing on the cake was that this cooler can be built from common waste materials such as empty plastic cold drink bottles – talk about being environmentally friendly and recycling plastic!

Hard at work, assembling the Eco Coolers

In just 3 months, Synchrony Financial and the Kalleda School students prepared smart, powerless air conditioners called ‘Eco Coolers’. The  method to make an Eco Cooler is fairly simple.  A board is cut to fit the desired window size and bottle neck sized holes are cut out in a grid pattern on the body of the plastic bottle. The neck of the plastic bottle is cut off and discarded, leaving funnel shaped bottle necks that are placed on the grid.  The Eco Cooler is fit into the window. When mounted, the wider port of the bottle faces outward and catches the passing wind, literally funnelling cool air into the house. It has the ability to bring the temperature down by as much as 5 degrees celcius!

..And they’re ready!

This was an electrifying project (pun unintended) for our students who were able to enhance their thinking and creative capacities and learnt how to make an innovative system, perfect for summer and taking into consideration the financial constraints of rural communities. In addition, it was an excellent enterprise in recycling waste materials and doing something positive for their community and the country too. This was such an enriching experience for everyone involved! While initially, students had to spend some time collecting the bottles and understanding how to make them, they slowly picked up and were able to make several of them!

We are so blessed that Synchrony Financial gave our students the opportunity to create a locally produced system and providing them with the necessary skills that empowered them to do something so productive for themselves and rural people. We are very grateful to the team at Synchrony Financial and so proud of our students’ new skills in innovation and social responsibility!

Experience is the Best Teacher!

RDF children belong to families that sustain themselves on agricultural or daily wage labour. Over decades, due to reliance on chemical based agricultural methods and climate change, farmers have faced immense loss. Therefore a field trip to learn about organic methods of farming was precisely the kind of empowering journey for our children that would allow them to learn from live examples and pass it on to their communities.

On a hot sunny day, the children of Class 9 of RDF Kalleda High School walked nearly 5 kilometres to farms that had gained renown for using organic farming methods. The farmers were very willing to pass on their experience and knowledge to the children, which we were very grateful for. The children and staff observed drip irrigation system,  sprinkler system and crops such as paddy, maize, mango and vegetable gardens too. The children were bursting with questions and the farmers explained everything to them patiently, which was a wonderful interaction to see!

Through the trip, the children learnt the benefits of using bio fertilizers, how it improves soil fertility and how to obtain high yields. They understood the damaged caused to the soil, and the microbiome that are essential to crop growth, if we used chemical fertilizers and pesticides. After this informative trip, the children visited a dairy farm in order to learn about livestock, milk production, caring for milch animals, their diseases and how to prvent them.

All in all, the children were thrilled with their outing and felt that they had learnt a lot from the farmers. They are now eager to speak to their community elders about using such methods in their own field. We absolutely love the feeling of responsibility and empowerment in these children, who genuinely want to strive towards making their communities economically stronger. Hats off to them!

The Wonders of Chess

Learning the immensely complex and fascinating game of Chess is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, chess, has been shown to increase reasoning, logical, abstract and analytical abilities. It also develops concentration and sharpens the brain. Learning chess, like any skill, takes discipline and we are really happy to see many RDF children take to this game of their own volition.

A healthy mind and a fit body contribute greatly to the overall wellbeing of a person and this is a fundamental principle at RDF schools. In Kalleda School, the sounds of chess have been resounding in its corridors for years! Children choose it naturally and derive a lot of enjoyment from it. Children are learning the game from the lesson ‘The Wonderful World of Chess’. They play the game on a regular basis, right from the time they are in Primary school. They even want to play it during their leisure time. We can see the improvement in their analytical and decision making abilities, their memory skills, as well making them feel confident about their abilities, which is essential for their mental and emotional growth.

We heartily recommend introducing chess at a young age for children and watch their mental, emotional and psychological abilities blossom! It’s a wonderful way to empower them and believe in themselves.

Scientific Creativity on Fire!

It all starts with an idea!

RDF is always encouraging its students to dive deep into a particular theme, topic or subject through interesting activities. Science is a subject that comes alive through the practical demonstration of experiments that can explain concepts easily. Our teachers also go through extensive training in order to teach their subjects better and help ignite children’s imagination.

Fine tuning with the Science teacher

Success!

This is precisely what was created in Kalleda School during a Science lesson recently. M. Yashwanth of Class 8 and M. Rajender of Class 9, with the help of their Science teacher, came up with the idea of preparing liquefied petroleum gas by mixing fire and petrol through a scientific contraption. This concept is used routinely in small and large scale industries, however our students were able to innovate and create a very low cost working model using plastic bottles, pipes, a air pump and a burner! The model was successful and was exhibited at the District Level Science exhibition. The experiment was praised by everyone and got 1st place and was selected to be shown at the State Level exhibition. While they didn’t win at the State Level, this encourage and inspiration they receive in school helps boost their confidence and also get them fired up to continue engaging in scientific experiments.

District Level triumph!

We have seen that providing children with a hands-on, learning environment really enhances their interest and curiosity in a subject, which then deepens their understanding, leading to further inventiveness. This is what we strive for – happy and creative children – letting their imagination soar!

 

‘Foam’enting Inventiveness

How many of us remember Science classes, trying to understand Physics, Chemistry or Biology only through theory and trying to grasp these theories with just our minds? But take the same concepts into the realm of experiments and suddenly complex theories become so clear and simple to understand!

Science needs hands on learning. It is to this end that a ton of effort is put into teacher training in our schools so that teachers understand new concepts and ideas to make their subjects interesting, to enable child to learn in interesting ways, thus retaining the learning. Once a concept is grasped, ideas and creativity to understand a concept better keep mushrooming! We have seen this time and again with our students.

In Kalleda School, students and teachers turned their attention to soaps- how they are formulated, what makes them pure or impure. Through a series of demonstrations, the Chemistry teacher made the students observe the foaming capacity of soap samples that were purchased from the market.

They were able to grasp how the purity of soaps is related to its foaming capacity. Through this experiment, they were able to clearly understand how soaps are made, understand their quality and differentiate between various soap formulations. Coming away with new knowledge and a greater understanding of stuff we use on a daily basis is the kind of positive impact we hope to nuture in every RDF student.

Now, at some stage, we are sure we will see some innovation related to soaps coming from the imaginative minds of our students!

The Spirit of Giving and Volunteering

Volunteers – their spirit of giving, their generosity of time, effort and commitment have been an integral part of RDF’s story since inception. RDF has been progressing for over two decades, not only due to financial support from organizations and individuals, but very importantly, also because of the many individuals who have volunteered their time to support RDF’s work.

Ms. Geeta Nambiar, an educationist from Chennai has volunteered with many NGOs across the world. She recently spent one month based in Matendla School, to offer her services to the students and the school team there. With English being a necessary language and skill in today’s world, she focused her efforts on working with Pre-primary and primary children and teachers to build their English communication skills. She also spent time with the villagers who asked her a very important question – “What is the use of staying for just a month? To make a difference you have to stay for a year.” She was unable to stay longer, but feels that in order to support the school and community’s development, other volunteers should try to stay longer.

She wrote a beautiful note about her stay at the school and her interactions with the local community –

Ms. Nambiar, in a teacher training session in MS

It was a privilege, indeed, to help the teachers with their English, at this school, which started under the trees, nearly 20 years ago and waited for 7 years before it got its beautiful building.
I was deeply moved to hear that every brick was handmade by the parents. These unlettered farmers and shepherds realized the value of education and later, the value of English when they requested for the change of medium.
The villagers were warm and friendly and invited me to their homes and many asked many questions. As first generation learners, educated in the Telegu  medium, the sincere, dedicated teachers truly deserve support .
The school is run with transparency, honesty and integrity and optimum utilization of resources including human resources. Discipline is strict but benevolent and the students happy, healthy, friendly and confident. Congratulations to the RDF and to the staff and students on what has been achieved in Matendla. May you go from strength to strength.”

Ms. Nambiar’s commitment created a wealth of experience for the children, teachers and the extended community. Her stay will be cherished forever in our memory and we are very grateful for her selfless support!

Mr. Kaeding’s note about the 4 schools

Another visitor to the RDF Kalleda School campus recently was Mr. Erik Kaeding, an educationist and attorney from California, USA, who has been supporting RDF’s sister NGO, the India Rural Development Fund (IRDF), for several years, through fundraising efforts and also served on the IRDF board. This was his third visit to RDF and he took the time to visit the four schools. He observed classes, interacting with teachers and students. He appreciated the training the teachers have gone through that enables them to create student friendly teaching and learning techniques that enrich the classes. He provided feedback and suggestion for improvement, including suggesting other child friendly techniques for teaching. He also took a tour of the organic farms and the school labs. He was impressed with the expansion of infrastructure in the four schools that includes more classrooms and school buses. The methodical transition to English medium and the increasing use of English in conversation and in teaching also made a positive impression on him.

Mr. Kaeding, interacting with villagers

He met several parents in each school, taking feedback on the education system and facilities at the schools. He was very happy to learn that the parents are satisfied with the facilities and the quality of education being provided and that the children are also happy and proud to be a part of RDF. He also met several alumni to discuss their careers, giving them tips about furthering their skills and ongoing learning and development on the job.

We are immensely grateful to every volunteer who supports RDF and the advice and help that they extend to the entire community. In their unique ways, the help Educate, Engage and Empower these deserving rural communities!