Archive for the ‘RDF Matendla School’ Category

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.

A Culture of Kindness – by children!

RDF schools have put in a huge amount of effort in creating meaningful links between their schools and the local community. The community takes pride in having an RDF school in its midst and always spread the word about RDFs work with rural, underprivileged children in their local neighbourhood. This produces a ripple effect through which RDF schools receive many visitors interested in learning about RDFs approach to rural education and its work with rural children.

Matendla School was recently visited by Mr. Bhargav Nagabhushanam who is an officer in the Telangana Government’s Mission Bhageeratha project. He was accompanied by his wife and two sons, Sriharsha and Srijith. They interacted with all the students and teachers, observing classes and extracurricular activities. They also generously donated towards the Midday Meal program in the school.

Fans being donated by Sriharsha (9 yo) & Srijith (6 yo)

While going around the school, the two sons noticed that some of the classrooms were warm and asked their parents to donate fans to the school which the parents agreed to. Through the kindness of the two young visitors, the school received a gift of 6 fans! The staff and students of the school were very moved by this gesture of kindness towards them and wanting to help underprivileged children.

We hope this circle of kindness and compassion towards those who are less privileged continues as we all do what we can to make this world a better place for everyone! Children like Sriharsha and Srijith are an inspiration to us. Thank you!

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!

Alumni Give Back

Over the years, RDF alumni have always come back to their schools to help innumerable ways. The connections remain alive, wherever they are.

In Matendla School, it was the entire Class 10 batch from last year who paid a surprise visit to the school and sponsored a Midday Meal, along with biscuits! Everyone was very touched to learn that they had saved their pocket money for several months to make this generous donation! They personally served all students and teachers, a gesture that moved many!

Though RDF students have shown over and over again how much they care for their schools, every gesture continues to warm our hearts. This good deed by mere 16 year olds will live in our hearts for a long time!

No Limits for Knowledge

RDF schools continually strive, every single day, to put its vision of creating a nurturing, high quality learning environment through all its programs. How many us remember being intimidated by Science concepts in school, because merely reading about them in theory and rote memorizing them scarcely produced any real understanding of the concept or its application in real life.

RDF schools encourage their students to spend time researching Science concepts, create experiments and allowing their natural creativity to come through.

3 students from Class 9 in Matendla School, Nagaraju M, M. Nagaraju and Balanarsu decided to prepare an exhibit for National Science Day celebrations in school. They took some waste materials and shaped it like a boat. They attach a small dynamo, taken from a children’s toy car and connected it to a small battery. This allowed the boat to move in water. They then fixed a small switch to enable the boat to move forward and backward. Such experiences help students learn better through kinesthetic learning medium.

The students, like all RDF students, come from poor agricultural families. Going to school and learning well is what can equip them with the ability to go on create a career and better lives for themselves. All of them feel that they learn a lot in school and that it is enjoyable to learn this way. We all know, when we enjoy the learning process, we retain the learning. This is exactly what we aim for.

Prior to starting the experiment, the 3 students didn’t know how to go about making the boat. With the support of their teacher, researching the concept of dynamo, electric current and floatation through the internet and library books, they experimented and created a successful working model of a boat. Rather than struggle to memorise the concept, it is much better to struggle while experimenting, since the learning and the concept become clear. There is truly no time for learning – any time is a good time and there are no limits for knowledge!

We thank our teachers in Matendla for helping Nagaraju, Balnarsu and Nagaraj with this project.

Future Artists and Upcoming Designers!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” ~ Albert Einstein

fiture-artists-1Creative expression finds its canvas in various forms – drawing pictures from a young age and learning traditional art forms like ‘rangoli’. The teachers at RDF Matendla School have been encouraging its young artist students and designers to let their imagination fly and create wonderful works of art!future-artists

upcoming-designers-1It’s no wonder then, that in such an encouraging environment, students are showing a lot of interest in drawing! The art that has been created by students of various ages has been very inspirational. Some students have even participated in District and State level art competitions. All the works of art are displayed proudly on the school bulletin boards and the young artists are commended in the school’s morning assembly too.

We are very proud of the efforts of all the teachers to help students explore their interest in various art forms and the students for their creative zeal and imagination!

Sandeep’s Dreams…

Sandeep studied in Vigneshwar Vidyalaya till Class 4. He joined RDF Matendla school in the Class 5. His parents are uneducated – his father is a mason and his mother is a beedi worker. It was his parent’s decision to change Sandeep’s school and join RDF Matendla. He likes the school because of the importance given to academics, sports and other cultural activities.

ms-1It was due to the school and their efforts that Sandeep started developing an interest in martial arts. A yellow belt holder, he has participated in state and national level karate competitions. The national level karate championship was held in Jammu and Kashmir. It was the first time that Sandeep traveled by train to an entirely different state. He was part of the Telangana team and traveled with 20 other team members.  Around 200 participants came from all over India. ms-2The 2 day train journey was very memorable. The train passed through the states of Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra to reach Jammu. The indoor stadium was big and nice. It was the first time that he realized how serious people are about sports. Sandeep is keen for more children to participate in sports. He believes that it offers great exposure and allows him to meet many more people. It teaches discipline and punctuality.

Sandeep recently participated in a quiz competition conducted by Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad. 2 teams represented RDF Matendla. Matendla was the only rural school in the competition that saw 50 urban school teams. The quiz was very tough. He was not aware of the answers of many questions. It was a great learning experience for him and he is eager to participate in many such competitions.

ms-4In his free time, Sandeep likes to play with his younger brother and visit the village library. The library is open from 8 am – 10.30 am. It again opens in the evening from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Every Wednesday, the library remains closed. Sandeep likes to spend time in the library and update himself. He reads newspapers and borrows GK books. According to him, newspaper reading is a very good habit. The Telugu newspaper gives information about the state wide news where as the English newspaper has country wide news.

Sandeep is also interested in politics for social good. He believes that social policies are implemented for the welfare of society. For example, KCR constructing double bedrooms flats for poor people and other programs like Mission Bhagirath will help Matendla a lot. If the mission is a success, there won’t be any water problems in their village they will have access to tap water.

Sandeep is very keen on becoming an IAS officer and help society. We wish him all the very best for future endeavors.