Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Career Guidance

Guidance for first generation learners, who have lived and studied in rural areas, but want to work in cities, is a crucial step in preparing them for life outside their small villages. If we think preparing children for the world is a tough task, imagine the culture shock experienced by rural children!

Therefore, all RDF institutions conduct Career Guidance and Life Skills training sessions, in addition to participation in meets and field trips to other towns and Hyderabad. At the RDF VAPV Junior College, the team invited Mr. E. Muralidhar Rao, a reputed speaker, from Warangal. Mr. Rao gave a detailed talk about various courses available after Intermediate and how to apply for the best course. He also motivated the students to think about success and the qualities required to achieve success in their careers and life. “Conduct, Concentration and Commitment are the three qualities required to reach life goals and success” is the mantra he swears by.

He patiently explained to the students that problems and challenges are a part of life, but the attitude to solving those makes a big difference. How do we set goals? What do we do when we encounter problems? What strategies do we follow? These were the pertinent questions he posed and discussed with the students.

The students also asked various questions and doubts about higher education and courses most suitable for them to take up, which he clarified patiently. He also advised them to read more books and spend their time wisely and productively, rather than on phone calls, chats, Facebook and other social media. He recommended that they arm themselves with knowledge through books and awareness rather than social media.

The students listened intently to his thoughts and views and felt motivated and more confident about their future prospects. They understood that they need to be committed to their goals and work hard, if they are to get out of the poverty cycle. We thank the Junior College team for their commitment to their students’ future and arranging such inspiring sessions. We also thank Mr. Muralidhar Rao for giving his time and interacting with the students. We’re positive your guidance and wisdom will help them in innumerable ways!

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Schools of Care

An atmosphere of care and support can work wonders in a child’s life. When children face challenges and constraints in their personal lives, receiving encouragement from people who care about their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing really helps to build some self esteem and confidence in the children. We are very proud that the team at the Mandal Parishad Primary School and Zilla Parishad High School, Bahadurally is doing precisely that. A partnership between RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation to improve the education quality in the school has led to teacher training for the staff to not only build academic quality, but also understand child behavior and inculcate an atmosphere of nurture and learning.

Sushmita, currently a Class 3 student in the Mandal Parishal Primary School, Bahadurapally, moved from Nepal to India in order to work and make a better life for themselves. Missing her life and friends in Nepal, Susmita felt lonely and cried a lot. She wouldn’t not participate in class or mingle with other children during extracurricular activities. She was unkempt and distressed.

The teachers took special interest in her, treating her with a lot of love, patience and kindness. They helped her mingle with her classmates, encouraged her to play sports and games and hand held her in her studies.

Slowly, everyone noticed a transformation in her. She started smiling, began taking interest in her classes, started to make friends, sharing her lunch with them and offered to help teachers and students. Susmita continues to need support and her teachers and classmates give a lot of attention and affection to her, thus helping her to develop herself.

Simhachalam, a student of Class 6 in ZPHS lost his parents as a child and was put in the care of the orphanage ‘Kutumbam’ in Bahadurapally village. He loves sports and has an innate athleticism. This ability was noticed by the Physical Education Teacher at ZPHS who took him under his wing to train him. He has been participating at the school level and is being groomed to participate in the Mandal level games. The orphanage also has a sports trainer, so Simhachalam is really enjoying all this time spent playing his favourite sports of Kabaddi and Kho-Kho. “I love to play and look forward to our sports period. When we play, everyone is treated equally and only our talent in playing the sport is considered by our PET”, he says. His ambition is to join the Army. “I workout daily to keep myself physically fit. I run, walk and do exercises everyday because I know that to be in the Army, I need to be fit and have mental and physical stamina.” The school provides special snacks to students who are training in sports and he feels that the snacks and meals provided by the school give him the required stamina and health as they are high in nutrition and healthy. We really hope that Simhachalam realizes his dream of becoming a good sportsperson and join the Army when he is older.

We are very proud of the efforts of all the teachers who understand students’ situations and are able to make a difference in their lives. Thank you to the MPPS and ZPHS team, for once again caring for all the children, allowing them to blossom in their own, unique way.

Teaching Tech Skills

Life without technology is unfathomable in the 21st century. Children in urban areas have plentiful access to various digital devices. The school and home environment also provide time, instruction and knowledge about technology. This is not the case in rural areas. While mobile phone reach has penetrated many rural areas, children are not well versed in understanding technology well enough in order to use it as a skill in their lives and careers.

Therefore, RDF has made a lot of effort in raising funds and through individual and corporate partnership, in order to set up fully functional computer labs in each school. Kalleda School has a well planned timetable that allows children to learn and practice computer skills before, during and after school! Children learn how to the MS Suite applications such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. They learn typing skills and also MS Paint. Since the labs are equipped with internet access, the children learn to browse the net to access information for their homework and related school projects. The kids really look forward to their computer classes as it opens up a whole new world of information for them. Several RDF students have gain enough technical skill and expertise in order to obtain jobs in the field.

The main challenge remains power outages, so the school has inverters to maintain regular power supply.  The students and parents are very appreciative of RDF’s effort in developing the infrastructure in the schools in order to equip the students with such essential 21st century skills!

 

Empowered Student Leaders

Rural underprivileged children studying in RDF schools are not just given academic instruction in order to pass exams, so that they may get jobs in the future.  There is cognizance of the fact that they need more than their marksheet in order to do well in their life and prospective careers. Therefore, their all round development is nurtured carefully by the staff and management in each school.

Leadership skills are an area that is developed through assigning activities specific to the students. In Matendla School, the Head Boy, Head Girl, Assistant Head Boy and Assistant Head Girl conducted a meeting for students of Class 6 to 10, in the presence of the High School teachers, Assistant Headmaster and Headmaster of the school. The purpose was to understand things that are going well and challenges being faced by the students in school. The Head Boy and Head Girl gathered information from each Class Leader and presented the information to the staff and management. The students freely expressed their views and opinions and with suggestions from teachers and in-charges, they formulated a plan of action to improve academic input and output, discipline and school neatness.

The student leaders take on the onus of such tasks seriously and take a tremendous level of responsibility in planning and executing their tasks. It is also great to see students and teachers freely discussing values and what’s the best course of action for the students and the school. There are many such areas through which the school promotes a sense of leadership and responsibility among students. Good leaders take responsibility and work towards finding solutions to challenges, disseminate facts and information clearly and work as a team. These are life skills that are essential to living in today’s world.

The school in-charges recognise how crucial these skills are and help students to develop themselves, in order to prepare them for their future. This level of educating them and engaging with them in various activities eventually empowers them to take charge of their lives. It’s an invaluable skill that cannot be learnt through academic work only. We are very proud of the empowered community of teachers and students – empowered citizens  that we are building in each RDF school!

Community Care for the Children

In this digital era, the ramifications of being in an interconnected, digital world are not confined to just urban children. It easily reaches rural children too as technology has penetrated all parts of India. Therefore, it is not unusual, even in rural India to find children spending time on their cell phones, browsing the internet, spending time on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter or watch serials on television. The hold of such digital media and content is so strong that it has been creating concern among parents and educational institutions, as students spend more time in the digital world than the real world.

A discussion with teachers & parents

The team at the RDF VAPV Junior College also had similar concerns. They decided to enlist the support of the parents and also spoke to the students to come up with ways through which students also focused on their education, rather than whiling away time on their phones and the internet. The college now send the homework requirements and project work via SMS to each parent. They are also informed if the student is absent, especially an absence of 3 days or more. They also exhorted parents to participate more in their children’s lives and take an interest in what they are doing.

Getting suggestions from parents & students

These initiatives have led to parent’s paying more attention to their children, helping them with their projects and homework, which is having a positive effect on their attitude and their academics too! The lecturers are also spending time engaging more deeply with the children, discussing education, life skills, careers and handling challenges in life. Undertaking such social responsibility together is what makes the RDF environment a dynamic one!

The parent community feels very motivated at the support and care that their children are receiving from the Junior College. Since all RDF institutions believe in transparency of processes, they also feel free to offer suggestions to the college management in handling everyday challenges. This is an empowered community at its best!

The Joy of Learning

Children crammed into a classroom for 7 to 8 hours a day, memorizing their lessons is not exactly a picture of fun filled and joyous learning, is it? Imagine active and exuberant 4 to 5 year olds being made to sit or stand for hours on end. Young children have a natural curiosity to explore, to play and to run around. Many schools cannot provide an environment conducive to the natural nature of young children. But the RDF environment is very different!

RDF recognizes the natural drive and ability of young children, so the teachers are trained to work with these natural abilities in order to help them learn. This method of ‘activity based learning’ or ‘playway’ method has created fun filled classrooms for RDF’s young learners.

In Redlawada School, kids learn English and rhymes through songs and stories. Toys and other playthings become characters in a short play or story; the teacher and children together weave a wonderful story, adding songs and rhymes to bring the story to life. Rhymes are learnt with actions, music or play and games too! When kids are having so much fun, time just flies!

These activity based methods have been proven to show that children can retain content easily. Instead of making them undergo the stress of memorizing, having fun and play makes them retain what they need to learn effortlessly! Parents too are happy to see their children learn new things and develop themselves in this manner. The teachers too feel creative and engaged with such teaching methods.

We are very proud of the efforts of our teachers who take the time to creative engaging and meaningful lessons for these young kids, keeping their needs in mind. We admire their own playfulness and patience! As always, it’s always lovely to see the smiling, happy faces of the little ones!

A Special Birthday

Birthdays are typically days of celebration for children, who look forward to being with friends and family and receiving blessings and gifts from their families.

However, when Kanikonda Akhil, a student of Rollakal School, turned 14 years old recently, he decided to do something different. Concerned about the environment and inspired by the efforts being made in all RDF schools to bring awareness about environment conservation, Akhil decided to plant a sapling in his school on his birthday. He also gave a speech on his birthday, urging everyone to do something concrete that will help the environment.

The students and teachers appreciated his gesture and many students took a pledge to plant a sapling on their birthday too! Even the teachers were inspired by his thoughtfulness and they too decided to follow suit and plant a sapling on their birthday! Everyone agreed that contributing to protecting the environment was a much better way to celebrate a birthday and this planet too, rather than spending money on buying a cake and chocolates.

We are very touched by Akhil’s concern for the environment and are very proud that he took inspiration from RDF’s Social Awareness Programs and felt empowered to make his birthday a unique event for everyone. These are the waves of changes from the next generation that we see being birthed through RDF students’ inspiring actions!