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Conscious Creativity

Creative ideas are burgeoning in RDF Rollakal School! The students who are learning in an environment that encourages freedom and creative self expression are exploring various artistic mediums in order to channelize their creative spark.

The urge to be creative and feel self expressed in doing so is a very natural human urge. Many schools,  in their pursuit of academics and examinations, tend to have a low priority for artistic endeavours. However, in RDF schools, we realize that an enriching environment is not just one with a high quality of academic focus, it is also watching out for children’s natural curiousity, their innate talent and providing them the environment and encouragement to delve in artistic endeavours such as art, craft, singing, dancing, writing, experimenting – any manner which enthuses their spirit!

Theatre Thursday has been put together by students who are interested in the medium of theatre to explore socially relevant issues. For these kids, the exploration is not just about acting; it is about using the medium of act as visual storytelling in order to highlight issues in our society that is relevant to their lives. The idea/theme, the story creating, dialogue writing, direction and acting is managed entirely by the students! It just goes to show the deep level of interest they have in their social reality and bringing it to light through a thoughtful play. Some of the themes enacted recently have been Jealousy, Greed, Anger, Failure & Disappointment. These are real emotions – reality the students and their families experience; therefore, it is very empowering for them to explore this and work out solutions using theatre. We are very proud of their imagination and effort!

Another student, Pravalika, who is studying in Class 8, has always been artistically inclined. Over the past few months, she has been very interested in working with paper to explore her own creative ideas. Of course, she has been encouraged in this new found interest by the school and her teachers. She has now made several beautiful paper creations that are on display in the school. So pretty are her designs, with an amazing level of dexterity, that other children also want to learn from her!

Both these cases go to show that when treated with care and encouragement, students bring out the best in themselves. RDF staff make a very conscious effort to understand student’s needs and provide them with the means required to bring their creativity to the fore. This is what builds self esteem, self confidence and a feeling of empowerment – essential life skills in today’s world.

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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.