Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Unmasking Care during Lockdown!

Vivek, a Class 3 student of Matendla School was inspired to make homemade cloth masks. He shared this idea with his mother, a tailor and sister, a class 10 student in the same school. Together, this family made 5000 masks with their own humble income! They collected cotton cloths from the villagers, handwashed them thoroughly with the antiseptic disinfectant Dettol, then Vivek’s mother machine stitched them.

The masks were then distributed in surrounding villages to the residents, including to local police, medical, revenue and electricity department personnel and sanitation workers.

We are very touched with Vivek’s level of social responsibility at such a young age and one family’s sincere desire to help their community!

Teaching to Build Good Relationships

Rural children live in difficult family circumstances, steeped in financial difficulties and its attendant social issues. Parents work long hours to eke a living, so a caring school environment is what RDF children look forward to.  RDF also actively works with the parent community to counsel and guide parents so that students have a conducive environment at home.

Over the years, we have worked hard at creating a nurturing environment in our schools with teachers being trained to look after the mental and emotional wellbeing of their charges too. So our teachers don’t just teach, but look after the students with a lot of care and affection. These supportive teacher-student relationships inspire the children and helps them to focus better in class and in extracurricular activities too. It has also enabled bonding between parents and children at home, thus easing the stress in some homes.

The accompanying pictures are from Redlawada School, with a teacher feeding primary students who have hand injuries and neatening the hair of another student. We feel happy to see students who are happy to come to school and love their teachers!

Going the Extra Mile for Extracurricular Activities!

For most educational institutions, extracurricular activities is seen as something outside of regular school work; academics is given greater importance. However, in RDF, we believe that learning happens when it’s fun, therefore we place a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities too, as the achievements and successes from such activities spill over into all areas of a child’s life, which is what we would like to see!

Our extracurricular activities encompass a gamut such as art/craft, reading/writing, sports and indoor games, poetry and elocution, experiments, with a big dose of fun! Our teachers are trained to spot skills and talents in children, even if they surface in small ways because small doesn’t mean insignificant! This foundation is created right from the time the child starts in our schools. With the encouragement and care of teachers, these children become confident in themselves and their abilities which allows them to face challenges in other areas of their lives too.

In Redlawada School, the teachers spend a considerable amount of time to thoughtfully plan extracurricular activities, so the ‘extra’ effort doesn’t feel like effort! They’ve seen how the smallest of accomplishments or even acknowledgement goes a long way in building self esteem and help students focus on their goals with greater clarity. The sense of play and building interest creates a nurturing environment in the school, which everyone thrives in. Our biggest testament is that the kids enjoy coming to school and interacting with their teachers.

This holistic, whole life education is appreciated by the parent community too, who feel happy that their children are doing well, supported admirably by their dedicated teachers!

Creativity, Coins and Kudos!

The true spirit of education and learning is to ignite curiosity and facilitate the natural interest of children. We can never stop smiling when we see creativity, born out of interest and curiosity, unfold itself through interesting experiments and contraptions.

Vijay, building the ‘Coin Separator’

Thumma Vijay, a Class 7 student of Rollakal School, combined craft and science to make a ‘coin separator’ for the school. He had observed that carrying small change can be a little troublesome. So he fashioned a ‘set of drawers’ from thick cardboard to separate Re. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 coins! He also had the foresight to think of user comfort and stuck 3 bottle caps to pull and push the drawers! With this model, everyone saves time counting out coins and they stay safe too.

The freedom to design their own creations, either based on what they learn and understand in the classroom or from other sources of inspirations is a joy to see. We are very proud that RDF schools actively promote this spirit of freedom in all its students. The teachers receive full credit for supporting students’ learning journeys.

Now Vijay’s classmates have resolved to come up with their own ideas to create something useful for their school or their home. It’s brilliant how a simple contraption is creating this wave of inspiration for everyone.

Well done Vijay – we are very proud of your invention and look forward to more creativity from the school!

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.

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!