Archive for the ‘RDF Matendla School’ 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!

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.

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.

Time for Rhymes!

Speaking and communicating in English is now considered a life skill not just in India, but in most countries as it is the universal language of communication. English is a second language for a majority of Indians and in rural areas, with very limited exposure to the language, it is akin to a foreign language. This can make learning the language a difficult task, also due to language limitations in rural teachers.

ms-blog-1-rhymes-recitingHowever, it has been shown that early exposure to a new language can help children grasp a language more easily. Rhymes are a fun way for young children to learn the speaking rhythm of a language, along with intonation, repetition of sounds and words and building vocabulary. Learning rhymes and repeating its rhythms also brings in an element of play, so that learning English can feel effortless. With accomplishment in learning rhymes, children get motivated to learn more. Therefore, learning rhymes and simple poems is an integral part of the primary school curriculum in RDF schools. Trained and mentored by committed volunteers, adept in English and thereafter with the encouragement of RDF teachers, young children have been enthused about their rhyming skills and enhanced language abilities.

ms-blog-2-rhymesMatendla School conducted a rhymes reciting competition as part of the ‘Balavinodam’ programme. The competition was announced a week in advance, thus giving the children a week to prepare. The programme was open to students from LKG to Class 5. Students prepared their rhymes with the help of their English teachers and were asked to recite rhymes with rhythm and action. Students were adjudged based on performance, with 10 marks allotted to the rhyme, 5 marks for rhythm and 5 marks for action. The top two performers for each class were awarded. So while only the top two spots were awarded, commendations were given to all students, who were appreciated for their joyful participation.