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Happy Harvest!

ros-2The RDF team puts in tremendous effort to make its schools self sufficient and sustainable. RDF children come from rural, underprivileged families that lead difficult and financially hard lives. The children are always made aware of the effort it takes to provide resources to the schools that allow them to benefit from an enriched learning environment. However the means by which these resources are made available to the children and staff is never taken for granted.ros-3

Producing their own food is one way in which RDF tries to show the children the importance of farming and self reliance. All RDF schools have their own small kitchen farms. In RDF Rollakal School, students have been lovingly and carefully tending to the farm in their school premises. The farm is fully organic as the students and their families have been made aware about the damage to their health and soil through excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The students collectively plant seasonal vegetable seeds and then look after them till they are ready to harvest. This season the students have cultivated bottle gourd, bitter gourd and ladies finger! ros-5ros-4These delicious vegetables are used for the midday meal in the school which is a crucial way in which the school is able to save some costs towards the midday meal.

The children are delighted to look after the farm and harvest their own produce. Food tastes so much better when you grow it yourself and is prepared with care by the cooking staff!

Achieving academic excellence

Paka Upagna with the headmaster of RDF Kalleda School

At RDF we believe in imparting a rounded education going above and beyond academics. However, our academic results are always a matter of great pride for us. This year RDF Kalleda School student Paka Upagna made the RDF family very proud by obtaining a 10/10 grade point average in the academic year 2011-12, along with this the school delivered a 100% pass result. Approximately 10 to 12 lakh students appear for this examination across Andhra Pradesh with only 1097 students achieving a 10/10 GPA.  To commemorate this achievement the headmaster, teachers and some of the villagers felicitated her. Paka Upagna wants to continue studying and become a doctor and serve the rural people. Way to go Paka Upagna!

A strong student

K. Pravalika started learning yoga in August

In just four months, Wadlakonda student K. Pravalika has shown an astounding ability in yoga.

The 5th class student learned yoga from Prabhakar, her physical education teacher. The photos well demonstrate the 10-year-old’s strength and agility. She is doing so well that she participated in the district’s yogasan championship and won 4th place.

The Wadlakonda student learned yoga from her physical education teacher

Congratulations K. Pravalika!

Growing our lunch

Redlawada students help pick tomatoes at the school farm

The dignity of labor – and practical farming tips – are two important lessons Redlawada students learn when they work on the school farm.

The farm-grown food is used for students’ mid-day meals and any extra food is sold at the local market since the school doesn’t have storage facilities for the perishable items.

Kalleda alum plants bright future

Kalleda alum Devaraju at the school farm

Kalleda grad Devaraju volunteers at the school farm and enjoys teaching students his farming techniques.

Former Kalleda student Devaraju is a role model for today’s younger students: he now manages a farm where he is responsible for a staff of 12 men and women, all of whom are much older than him.

The quiet, unassuming 19-year-old excels at his job. Under his management, the yield on the 68 acre farm has steadily increased.  The main crops are rice, maize and mango which are sold at the local market and the profits invested in improving seeds and fertilizers for future crops.

This year the farm’s rice yield reached record levels which Devaraju credits to excellent team work. “I learned the importance of team work from my father,” he says. “When I was growing up he took time to show me how to co-operate with other people to get the best results.”

Devaraju, who dropped out of college after finishing his schooling five years ago, also spends time helping on the nearby Kalleda School farm.  He enjoys teaching his techniques to younger students when they visit the school farm to help with the harvest.

For Devaraju, planning the crop cycle, sowing seeds and making organic fertilizers are all in a day’s work. The farm’s irrigation system is its life-blood especially during the long hot summer months when temperatures rise to 40 Celcius or more.  Devaraju says he has noticed changes in the weather patterns with more erratic monsoons.

When he is off duty, he enjoys playing cricket and volleyball.

RDF Narsimpalli School Staff Profile: Satyanarayana J

Satyanarayana J.

Satyanarayana Janagonda joined RDF May 3, 2010. He teaches Science to 4th through 7th class. His favorite part of being an RDF teacher is that he loves teaching and feels wonderful contributing to the development of the village through education.

When asked what areas he and RDF could improve, he says he hopes to improve his knowledge and skills, especially in English. He hopes RDF continues to better student lives. Many of the students in the area come from farming backgrounds whose lives are uncertain due to droughts and crop failures. Education helps break this cycle and he’s excited to be a part of it.

RDF Matendla School: Buy a Recipe!

Johanna and Gudrun are two volunteers from Iceland who were the first to introduce the Youth Empowerment Program to RDF Matendla school. Here’s a post written by Johanna on a special project they worked on in addition to their Youth Empowerment class – the Buy a Recipe project!

Johanna Bjork and Gudrun Hulda

Those who have been to RDF Matendla School know that it has the freshest, tastiest, and most amazing food. Besides the smiling students, the best thing about Matendla  is without a doubt the food. The school’s kitchen is a hidden treasure of Indian food. The reason for the kitchen’s success is freshness, care and simplicity.

The ingredients are all local and seasonal. The school grows its own garden, which the students take an active part in taking care of. Their other main ingredients are love and care for the students, chilies and turmeric, and a little dance here and there. Sometimes Vishnu, the headmaster comes and adds pride to the recipes.

RDF Matendla School's kitchen

The kitchen is a simple one. It has a few gigantic pots, huge saucepans, two gas-stoves, two fireplaces, a large floorspace and several primitive but very interesting work-tools. No electricity, no fancy machines. Everything is clean cut and clear.

The two of us have been sitting quietly, watching and learning from the best. Now, we have gathered our favorite recipes from the Matendla Kitchen and adjusted to scale (since the least of us ever make lunch for 356 hungry schoolchildren). We want to share with you the treasures of Matendla School.

The world can learn from the Matendla School Kitchen so we have prepared a small-scale fund-raiser on mine and Gudrun’s personal website. We simply call it Buy a Recipe.

Eggplant (vankai in Telugu) curry, a boiled egg, and rice make a full meal

Already we have collected enough money to buy the students a new camera, volleyball and a basketball and to buy necessities for the kitchen. We hope that with the help of friends and family and other RDF friends we can raise a lot more.

Click HERE to see the website for yourself!

RDF plans to adopt the Buy a Recipe program on a larger scale (by including the other schools) and then incorporating it into its own website.

Verði þér að góðu

– Icelandic for Bon apetit