Archive for the ‘Social Responsibility’ Category

Our Role in Enrollment

The Telangana Government has launched the ‘Professor Jaya Shankar Badibata Programme’ which aims to drive enrollment levels in schools by motivating and encouraging families to enroll school age children and school dropouts to join neighbourhood government schools.

ZPHS students in the school enrollment rally in Bahadurapally

As part of this initiative, students of the Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Zilla Parishad High School, along with staff from ZPHS and the Mandal Parishal Primary School, conducted an awareness program and rally in and around the village of Bahadurapally.

Students, as spokespersons of their school, spoke to parents to encourage them to send their children to school, giving details about the high quality of education and facilities that are being provided as part of the school improvement partnership between TMF and RDF.

Students talking to the local community during the drive

The villagers responded positively and were found to be aware of best practices being implemented both the government schools through existing parents and children.

With many school age children still not in school and school dropouts getting marginalized in society; such initiatives are crucial to helping families making an informed decision to send their wards to school.

 

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!

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Games for the teachers

Girl child education is a prime focus area in its vision to educate, engage and empower rural children and communities. It has worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to convince rural people to invest in the education of their daughters, encouraging them to view girls as equals, with a right to education and providing employment to women.

The Headmaster addressing the audience

Therefore, the occasion of Women’s Day on 8th March provided a platform to honour the girls and women who are a part of RDF schools. In RDF Kalleda School, the Headmaster addressed the audience about the importance of events like Women’s Day and RDF’s focus on providing education to girls in order to skill them, become earning members in their families and to do away with the practice of child marriage.

 Thereafter, the female teachers were invited to speak about issues they have faced in their personal lives and in society in order to live a life with dignity. They urged the audience to understand the biases faced by women and requested them to treat women in society fairly and honour their role in society.

Having fun playing ‘Musical Chairs’

Fun games such a tug of war, balloon breaking and aim and throw were organized that everyone enjoyed thoroughly and brought in an air of gaiety to the day. While Women’s Day is just 1 day in the year, RDF continues its work with rural communities every day of the year to empower them in numerous ways, in order to bring about changes that can create a more equitable society at the grassroot level.

Nature’s Hero

We received a lovely note from S.K. Navaz, a BPC 2nd year student at the RDF VAPV Junior College who is passionate about trees and conserving the environment. Here is his letter, reproduced with his permission –

 “My name is SK Navaz, studying in BPC 2nd year. My favourite subject is Botany. I love trees. I plant ten saplings every year. I have taken on the responsibility of watering the plants in my campus daily and I feel very happy to see all the trees growing because they are the fruit of my own labour. I closely observe my trees. There are different kinds of fruits that grow on them like badam, cherry and regu. I feel happy that students and birds ate most of them. I prefer to spend my leisure time with my trees. I urge everyone plant 5 saplings every year. Let us join hands to save the environment.”

Local media article on the plant varieties in the campus

The Junior College students and staff have been making a lot of effort in greening their campus and spreading awareness on the importance of maintaining a green cover and having plant diversity too. So far they have planted 424 varieties of plant and aim to have 1000 plant species! Their work has been covered in the local media and commended by local communities.

The change makers that India needs reside in her villages. Living close to nature, in areas that still retain some of their verdant charm, young people like Navaz can still see the degradation of the environment. Their zeal and determination is admirable and we hope their positive influence can spread far and wide. As he champions trees, we need to champion young people like him who take on the challenging responsibility to be the change they want to see in the world.

A Tale of Two Dramas

Today we bring a story (or two) from RDF Kalleda School on how a Drama can be used in 2 different ways to achieve different, yet meaningful outcomes.

To begin with, learning English in rural areas is very challenging. Students and teachers have very limited exposure to the language. Their struggle to learn the language to the extent that they can communicate in it well is very real. The children and teachers receive a lot of training from our education partners and dedicated volunteers to learn to speak in English and gain confidence in using the language.

The setting for the English play

Performing a drama is an effective tool to speak in any language, with its emphasis on intonation, pronunciation and facial expression. It can also make a challenge a lot of fun. Students of Class 10decided to pick a story from the Class 10 syllabus titled ‘Dear Departed’. The adaptation of the story into a play, the writing of dialogues, practicing it and then performing it in front of an audience was done entirely by students, with the able help of their English teachers.  The audience appreciated the confidence with which students spoke their dialogues and were able to put across the message of the original story and the play successfully. This highlights the willingness of the children to take ownership of their own learning, their creative thinking skills in creating a play from a textbook story, their writing skills in creating dialogues for delivery as well as good speaking skills! That was a lot of hard work put in by the children and they felt very satisfied with their effort.

The Telugu play in progress

The young children of Class 5 decided to use the medium of drama to bring across a social and environmental message about the detrimental effects of using plastic. Their play was done in Telugu and was performed on National Science Day celebrations in the school. The play made spectators aware of how plastic continues to be used everyday by most people, how it is not disposed properly, that it creates landfill which is slowly choking our planet. They made the audience aware of alternatives such as paper and cloth bags and ways in which we can say no to plastic. The kids and the audience both learned an very serious and important ecological problem and they got to exhibit their acting and performance abilities too!

We encourage the use of drama to create many relevant and fun activities for children. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the process and the final outcome!

Our Luminous Alumni!

ks-1The RDF family is blessed to have so many of its alumni give back to their schools in any manner they can. We have had students become full time teachers, volunteers, sponsoring equipment, donating funds for midday meals and many other ways. The students have always been aware that as an NGO, relying on funds from individuals and organisations to provide quality education, is challenging work. However, we have had a lot of goodwill that has keep the RDF institutions running for over 2 decades now! Our alumni have also been an influential part of this story.

Anusha and Shashi serving the Midday Meal

Anusha and Shashi serving the Midday Meal

Bananas being served during the Annadanam

Bananas being served during the Annadanam

K. Anusha from the 2007-08 batch of RDF Kalleda School recently donated towards ‘Annadanam’ on the auspicious occasion of her marriage. Anusha completed B-Tech and then worked at Value Labs, Hyderabad. She was a meritorious student who was renowned for helping students in school. It was this helping nature which made her want to give back to RDF and the school from her earnings. She says that she learned the values of hardwork and kindness from school.

The midday meal was served by Anusha and her husband, Shashi. We thank Anusha and Shashi for their generosity and wish her a healthy and prosperous future!

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