Archive for the ‘Social Responsibility’ Category

Chandra Rising!!

The paths to responsibility and leadership are many and sometimes they remain unseen and eventually move from shadow into the light. Such was the case with young Chandrakala who joined the Mandal Parishad Primary School 3 years ago as a Class 1 student. She spent much of her first year in the school crying to go home and was very unhappy being sent to school. Her teachers tried very hard to make her comfortable. They allowed her to go home on some occasions, while on others, they tried to get her to mingle with her classmates and other times, they gave her space to be on her own. She was so miserable, that sometimes she even refused to come into the classroom, preferring to keep to herself outside.

The teachers and the H.M. know that the journey to accepting life in school, after being home with parents is a different one for each child. They truly wanted Chandrakala to take to school at her own pace, in her own time. Her parents, particularly her father was puzzled by this approach as he felt children just need to adjust and took her lack of adjustment as a failure on the teachers’ part. But the teachers knew what they were doing and asked her parents to be patient with her and them.

Several months later, with time and continuing care and comfort being given by teachers, Chandrakala began to attend classes on her own.  This was a big milestone! As she started to come to class voluntarily, she started to mingle with her classmates and her comfort level grew more. By the end of the year, she was working hard in academics and proved to be a revelation in her reading, writing and speaking ability – she was gifted in picking up things fast! Not only that, she had a natural ability at leading charge too – she volunteered to collect and distribute notebooks, she helped her classmates with classwork and homework and loved her role as a class leader! Her teachers were amazed with her turnaround. She obviously loved school now and started to participate actively in sports and cultural activities too. It was as if she was making up for lost time – such was her energy and enthusiasm to do everything!

The biggest turnaround was in the attitude of her father, who had complained so much about the school. Now seeing his daughter’s progress, he felt very humbled and personally apologised to the teachers and the H.M. He thanked them for showing his daughter the patience and kindness that he could not and expressed gratitude to TMF and RDF for receiving training to understand children’s unique nature and giving them space to grow. So exemplary was Chandrakala’s performance, that the school gave her a double promotion to Class 3! Her parents have now enrolled her brother in the same school, in class 3; so the brother and sister happily study together!

We are very proud of our teachers for their effort and investment in each student and letting the children blossom!

 

Advertisements

Securing our Girls & their Future

It is a reality of life in India that in many families, educating a girl and more importantly, continuing their education after school is a leap of faith and bucking the ill serving traditions that define gender based roles for boys and girls. RDF institutions play a strong emphasis on girl child education and the school teams champion this cause passionately. Over the years, with our efforts, we have seen many families reconsidering their views about educating girl and being very interested in providing good education to their daughters. However, they still worry about their safety and security. In that regard, RDF institutions are beacons of trust in the local community, so parents are assured that their daughters are in good hands!

JC girls greening their beloved campus!

The journey from a school to a Junior College often entails girls living away from their parents for the first time. Wanting the best of the girls means that they need to stay in a hostel. The RDF VAPV Junior College has become renowned for its quality of education and facilities being provided to its students, including hostel facilities. Till recently, the junior college had 6 rooms in the girls hostel and had to turn down requests for hostel accommodation due to lack of space. Parents from surrounding villages entreated the college team to expand the hostel facilities for girls. Since RDF is also a charitable institution that relies on donations to run, we also needed the requisite funds for construction.

With new donations, we are now constructing a new girls hostel block with 10 rooms. Like all RDF amenities, top level care will go into the ambience of this hostel too – good ventilation, spacious rooms, bed and study tables, which helps students feel comfortable and study in a homely atmosphere.

Special seminars and motivational classes for girls is also on the anvil, such as Leadership Skills, Self Help Programmes and Women’s Empowerment workshops – all with the aim of educating, engaging and empowering girls.

The local communities are very happy with these developments, as are we, as we aim to widen the scope of girl child education and our social impact on empowering rural communities and of course, the strong daughters of these communities! 

A Juicy Discussion!

It’s a great pleasure for us to see children take charge of their own learning and development. It shows that they feel confident and empowered to do so, which in turn, makes us feel that we must be doing something right!

Raju, a Class 8 student from Matendla School brought a large lemon into school one day and handed it to his Science teacher. This local variety, called ‘Sudi Nimmakaya’ has many medicinal properties and he wanted to explain this to his classmates, plus learn more about it from the teacher. The teacher, being familiar with the uses of the fruit was pleasantly surprised by Raju’s initiative. He went on to explain that this variety of lemon is a natural and ayurvedic medicine for the natural removal of kidney stones, without the use of harsh allopathic medicines.

That led to a vigorous discussion on other fruits and how they are being used to help with various ailments. It was a talkative and engaged class, buzzing with ideas and information! Isn’t this how we want our classrooms and children to be? Curious, eager and engaged? There’s so much more to learning, beyond textbooks!

The children went home and told their parents and elders about this fruit. So a humble lemon brought in by a curious student, has now impacted so many villages. Kidney stones afflict many people and we really hope that the knowledge shared by our students with their local communities will really help them when the need arises!

‘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!

 

The Care of a School Community

Ramu is an active and curious 13 year old, studying in Class 8 in the Zilla Parishad High School, Bahadurapally. However, there was a period in his life, a mere 6 months ago, when his health was failing him and his parents, misguided in their belief about his ailment, sought help from a ‘witch doctor’ rather than proper medical advice. It was the efforts of his teachers at his school that eventually made his parents seek a qualified doctor’s help and made Ramu regain his health.

Born into a poor family, Ramu’s parents work as daily wage labourers. While Ramu was an engaged student, he began to suffer from asthma attacks and fits. On a couple of occasions, his teachers rushed him to hospital for treatment, but his parents, averse to western medicine, pulled him out of school and approached a witch doctor. As his condition deteriorated, Ramu couldn’t attend school for almost 6 months, which worried his friends and teachers.

Wanting to do the best for him and find a way to bring him back to school, his teachers met his parents to counsel them about taking proper treatment for his medical conditions, stop consulting the self-professed folk doctor and go to Malla Reddy Hospital. The school team urged his parents to do this for the sake of their son’s life and future and explaining that since Ramu’s condition wasn’t improving, it was urgent that they go to a hospital and meet the right doctor. We are very thankful that they succeeded in convincing Ramu’s parents, who then went to hospital, where under a good doctor’s guidance for 6 months, Ramu’s condition steadily improved!

Now, he’s back at school, much to everyone’s delight! Despite missing school for most of the academic year, Ramu is progressing, with patient help from his classmates and teachers. Now that he’s feeling well, he’s determined to stay in school to complete his education and further studies. He, his younger sister and his parents are immensely grateful for the timely help and advice that they received from the school team. We love the sense of responsibility and care that the schools show towards each and every student and teacher. It is precisely what a community is about and here, the ZPHS community rallied to wholeheartedly support Ramu and his family, improving his life in such positive ways. It’s also a beautiful example for the children, to see this environment of care and compassion for everyone.

A Very Special Birthday!

Bunny is a sweet 10 year old studying in Class 5 in Kalleda School. Unfortunately, his parents passed away when he was young, so he is being looked after by his aunt & uncle. To make the situation more dire, his relatives are financially very poor and hence unable to meet his minimum needs, though they try as much as they could. Bunny feels lonely, but enjoys his time in school with his friends and classmates.

Friends collecting funds for Bunny’s birthday surprise

Ta Da! Friends & teachers celebrating

On Bunny’s birthday, his friends wanted him to feel special & do something nice for him. RDF children themselves come from an economically deprived background & lead hard lives, yet with their values of compassion & care for fellow humans, they spoke to their parents and decided to collect money to gift him a set of new clothes. The staff was really moved by the children’s magnanimous gesture to help their friend and of course, Bunny was all smiles! In addition to this, the children also promised to help him with educational material whenever he needed it!

RDF looks after the needs of children who are either orphaned or from severely economically disadvantaged families, by sponsoring their education & all materials, in addition to providing them with free textbooks, notebooks, uniforms and midday meals. So though Bunny’s educational needs are being sponsored by the school, it was still a really thoughtful and lovely gesture on the part of the students to help him in as many ways as they can. We are so proud that these young children, who themselves don’t lead easy lives are filled with the spirit of generosity and kindness for those they perceive are less advantaged than them. Our hearts couldn’t be fuller!

Bunny is very interested in computers and works hard at learning new computer skills. He wants to become an Engineer. Our computer teacher mentors him, so that he can develop the range of skills that are required to make him feel empowered to learn, procure a good job and help himself financially.

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!