Archive for the ‘Social Responsibility’ Category

Student Endeavours and Empowered Communities

RDF schools have been built on the premise of Educating, Engaging and Empowering underprivileged rural children such that they learn tools through their years in RDF schools that will enable them to gain employment and break free from their lives of poverty. At a micro level, this is possible only through deeply engaging with each child and their family, nurturing community relationships based on trust and faith.

RDF staff, who also belong to the same communities and have led similar lives, have an intimate knowledge of the struggles that children and their families go through; having gone through the similar challenges of financial difficulties, working hard to complete schooling, working as students to put themselves through college, simultaneously trying to support their struggling families at home.  Having lived through similar circumstances, RDF staff make the effort to create personal relationships with the children, guiding and mentoring them and celebrating their talents, skills and achievements through school and even after school. This care and support system provide huge encouragement to the children and gives them mental and emotional strength to face their life and continue to work hard in school.

Saritha passed out of Redlawada School last year and joined a Junior College in the neighbouring small town of Hanamkonda. She recently informed the school that she topped the 1st Year Intermediate Examinations in the CEC group. Though she has graduated from the school, she, like many other students, keep in touch with the school and update them about their higher education. The school also keeps in touch with families and extends their support whenever required. Therefore the school and Saritha’s family is celebrating her accomplishment and together prays and wishes that she continues with determination for her further success in life.

Chandana, a Class 10 student in the school, has also been putting in a great deal of effort in her academics and extracurricular activities in school. Her parents are agricultural labourers who toil hard to send their only daughter to school so that she can lead a better life. However, Chandana is a sweet and humble girl who understands her parent’s troubles. So she spends all her spare time helping her parents in the fields with every Sunday and each holiday dedicated to working together with her parents in the field which gives them some respite from grinding physical labour.

We celebrate the spirit and compassion of our children, their families and our local communities which includes our local staff , through these stories. We take pride in their everyday lives, their journey and not just the end achievement. This is RDF’s way of creating empowered individuals who can create empowered communities!

Young Motivator!

One would think that the zeal to motivate and inspire can only come through years of study or life experience – having attained a certain level of learning in order to reach out or teach others. But what we have seen in RDF schools over and over again is that the zeal to motivate and reach out comes from a space of generosity, care, kindness – all encompassing a spirit of sharing.

Malyala Ramya is one such alumus of RDF Kalleda School who studied there from LKG to Class 5, thereafter gaining admission in a Government Sports School in Karimnagar. Now in Class 9, she has been selected to participate in Wrestling competitions. An avid lover of sports since she was a young girl, Ramya always had the clear intention of doing something in the sports arena. During summer vacation, she decided to pay a visit to Kalleda School to meet her teachers and former classmates. Driven by a desire to share her experiences as a sports person, she arranged a Summer Camp. During the camp, she emphasized the importance of physical, mental and emotional fitness in life. She also taught basic fitness techniques to build stamina and physical ability.

She spoke to the children not only about the importance of staying active and fit, but also on the importance of developing themselves in a sport as excellence in a sporting field can lead to future job opportunities as well.  The students thoroughly enjoyed her sessions and inspirational talks! Through her example, they understood the values of self discipline, hard work and personal excellence.

So Ramya, all of 14 years of age, showed all of us, yet again, that age is no deterrant to being a beacon of inspiration. We thank Ramya for her generosity and her willingness to share all that she has learnt with the young kids in Kalleda School!

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!

Future Sense

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children” ~ Anonymous 

A pond on campus, a watering hole for birds & small creatures alike

In times long long ago, now nearly forgotten, when lessons were taught under trees, the creatures of nature formed a part of learning from nature & living with nature. With abundant greenery, one can imagine the richness of bird and insect species that would have made the trees, grass & shrubs their home. Sadly, with depleting green cover, it is becoming rarer to find a diversity of such creatures or native trees, flowers, shrubs and herbs.

 

Butterfly varieties that flock to the abundant flowers & shrubs

 

We are proud that the RDF VAPV Junior College is making effort & taking responsibility for greening their campus. The over 400 varieties of plants and trees are providing shelter, the fruits are providing sufficient food & it is a delight to watch birds, butterflies and bees hover near the sweet corn and sunflower plants!

Water bowls, placed under trees

They have also created open pads and water bowls on the trees. Several varieties of birds flock to these resting places, savouring the sweet corn and fruit varieties.

They strongly believe that it is our responsibility to protect the biodiversity in areas that we reside in, for the sake of the future generations.

 

 

 

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!