Archive for the ‘RDF Rollakal School’ Category

‘In For’ Lots of Care!

Infor Care India has been a long time supporter of RDF’s cause and is committed to the development of our schools and helping rural, underprivileged children reach their best potential through good amenities. Rollakal School stands today due to funding from them and several members of their senior team and other employees regularly visit the school to volunteer or interact with the staff and students.

Last month, Infor employees visited the school in order to spruce it up and give it a fresh coat of paint. 4 Directors and 70 volunteers spent an entire day painting the entire building and making it look fresh and beautiful, standing proud in its pristine, green surrounding! They also planted 100 saplings which we hope will take root and grow strong, just like our partnership with Infor!

We are immensely grateful to Mr. Kiran Addala, RDF Director and a Senior Manager at Infor for spearheading this wonderful association and the entire Infor team for providing our school and children with the kind of amenities and resources that create a joyful learning environment for these deserving children. Thank you!

 

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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!

 

Of Kitchen gardens and Kindness!

Children, hard at work in the school farm

The lush produce at the school

Every RDF school has a thriving organic kitchen garden/farm in order to grow some of their own produce for the midday meals and also to help the local economy.  Seeing fruits, vegetable, grains and lentils grow from seed to cooked stages really inspires our children and makes them an active part of the food production process in their school. It also instills a sense of kindness and care towards nature and her resources.

In RDF Rollakal School, the creation and management of this vegetable garden means that they do not need to buy vegetables from the market for the midday meal programme. This also allows them to reduce expenditure. Some of the vegetables that they have successfully grown are brinjal, tomato, lady’s finger, ivy gourd, bottle gourd and bitter gourd.

Farmer Venu Rao in RoS

It has also brought the local community in Rollakal together. Due to water scarcity, the school’s neighbour and farmer, Karimilla Venu Rao, has been kind enough to supply water for the school’s farm. We are immensely grateful to him for helping us in this time of need. We absolutely love this culture of kindness and kinship towards the land and the people who till the land and this power of kindness that that brings us together.

It once again goes to show the power of trust and relationships within the local community that allow RDF schools to thrive and grow!

Our Persevering Parent Committees!

Donation of fans by Parent Committee

The Parent Committees in all RDF schools are very active and support their local schools in innumerable ways. It is so gratifying for us to see the faith and trust the parents have in our schools and the school team and coming forward to help us throughout the year!

In Rollakal School, the committee has been contributing in several ways towards the development of education, providing funds and making in-kind donations to extend the amenities in the school. They have also been helping the school with fee collection from parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They recently donated fans, in anticipation of the coming summer months, something that will be very useful in the classrooms. They also distributed prizes to children during a school function and motivated them to work hard and study well. They organized a special Annadanam last month, with chicken, which turned out to be a special treat for the children!

We and the Rollakal team are so grateful for their kindness and help, which we are positive is going to make the school prosper for many years to come!

Honouring Honesty

In RDF schools, academic focus and achievement is just one cog in the wheel of holistic education. Emphasis is also given on building children’s character and life skills. Honesty towards ourselves, our peers and the extended community is a characteristic that we aim to build in our children and we take it as the highest level of quality in human character.

In RDF Rollakal High School, we saw the fruit of our efforts when young G. Rakesh of Class 3 showed absolute honesty when he found a Rs. 1000 note in the school playground. He immediately handed over the note to the school Headmaster who commended him on his honesty and undertook efforts to trace the owner. Children like Rakesh are role models for everyone and we are very proud of his actions!

 

Cultivating Children’s Development

Growing our own food is an act of sacredness. In cities, our lives can be very distanced from the natural elements and the chain of people who grow our food. In fact, seeing our food grow from its seedling stage to our plates gives an immense feeling of satisfaction. Since RDF children live in financially deprived, rural agrarian communities, it was important for us to cultivate a mindset in which they see their agrarian history as having provided them with a richness of skills and experience and not something as challenging and thus avoided. While that is a reality, it became necessary for us to help them appreciate what they have grown up with and an understanding of the cycle of food – the cycle of life itself!

In Rollakal School, the school yard is being used as a vegetable garden. In fact, it is a wonderful way to use the school yard as another classroom, helping students connect deeply with the natural world – the true source of their food. Simultaneously, they also learn valuable farming concepts, methods and skills that integrate with academic subjects such as Maths, Science, Physical Education and their health. The school has had a bounty of tomatoes, greens, lady’s finger etc. which is providing a rich source of delicious food for their midday meal.

Working together on the school farm is yielding tremendous positive impact for the children who are gaining not just food knowledge and learning about growing their own food, but also about patience, cooperation, team work and social skills. Working with their hands and seeing the fruits of their labour are imbibing our children with a sense of self confidence and a sense of ‘capableness’. We find the children very excited when it’s time to go into the garden and work there. Every child, regardless of their intelligence or capability level finds something to do in the vegetable garden and that, in addition to everything else they learn, is something we positively cherish!

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!