Archive for the ‘Visitors’ Category

Art and Inspiration

RDF schools provide plenty of opportunity for students to showcase their skills and talent. After all, academic development and achievement is not the only measure to gauge students’ progress in school.

In Redlawada School, an entire wall has been dedicated to display students’ art work. Seeing their work up on the wall gives our students a lot of encouragement and support for their unique talents. In fact, RDF teachers are trained to identify children’s skills and talents and encouraging them to work in their own areas of interest, thus cultivating their inherent skills. The freedom to work on their art really allows their imagination to soar! The smiles and sense of pride to see their work on the wall is really special!

MEO & Government school visitors admiring the Art Wall

As part of an Educational tour, some Government school students and teachers visited the school. They were amazed to see the Art Wall and commented that children should be given opportunities to showcase their special abilities, be it art, craft, dance, music or sports. They were so taken by the idea that they spoke about it to their families and other community members too, which made our students even happier.

We feel really happy to see RDF children blossoming in so many ways. We thank our teachers for working so hard to nurture individual talent and creating an atmosphere of care and encouragement RDF schools.

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Republic Day Celebrations

MPPS Bahadurapally had a grand celebration on the occasion of India’s 69th Republic Day on 26th January 2018. Students and staff prepared an excellent event, practicing songs, dance and speeches for many days! The Chief Guest was Mr. Mallaiah – the Chairman of the school’s SMC. The programme started with the hoisting of the National Flag by the Village Sarpanch and other members of the village development committee.

Students of Classes 1 – 5 then presented their well thought out and colourful songs and dances which enthralled the audience. Parents and other villagers were present in full attendance to watch the children’s enthusiastic performances. Staff and students gave speeches in both Telugu and English, which made everyone very proud, given that public speaking and presenting in English has been a challenge which is being overcome through various forms of training.

There was also a prize distribution ceremony, in which the Headmaster invited the parents to give away the prizes. The prizes, sponsored by TMF and RDF, comprising of games and sports equipment, stationery and snacks, were given away for student achievements in sports, extracurricular activities and academics. Children were thrilled with their prizes as they can be utilized in their school work.

The day ended with bananas being distributed to everyone and conveying our heartfelt thanks to the support of TMF and RDF staff, as well as the parents and the village community.

Teachers’ Skill Development

RDF has been partnering with Tech Mahindra Foundation for the past 4 years in order to improve the quality of education in 2 Government schools that TMF has adopted. The School Quality Improvement Program (SQIP) involves RDF planning and implementing best practices to enhance the teaching and learning environment in Zilla Parishad High School and Mandal Parishad Primary School in Bahadurapally. An integral part of this approach is the skill development of government school teachers through visiting RDF schools and being mentored and trained by senior staff from RDF schools. This is an established practice in all RDF schools, wherein teachers visit other schools to observe classes and processes in order to share and learn from one another. This fosters a spirit of team work and harmony amongst schools, teachers and children.

Introductions during morning assembly

School observation accompanied by MS coordinators

As part of this skill development and learning initiative, 4 government teachers from MPPS and 8 RDF teaching staff from RDF schools visited Matendla School in Siddipet district. They observed the morning assembly which also provided an opportunity for the visitors to introduce themselves to the school. The children presented songs and stories as a special activity during the assembly to welcome the visitors.  The unique clapping system was really appreciated by everyone.

Examining the Word Wall

Classroom observation

Thereafter, accompanied by school coordinators, the visiting staff observed classroom teaching, sports activities, kitchen garden, kitchen and libraray. The display work in the classrooms and corridors attracted the attention of visitors especially in the pre primary block. They admired the ideas and creativity of the students. The teachers were mesmerized by the display of well organized behaviour of the staff and the students during leisure time and the midday meal.

 Each visiting member shared their observations, experiences and expressed a wish to implement some of the best practices like – systematic clapping, encouraging individual talent like dancing, singing, display work, following road rules in the school corridors using colour cones as dividers, using ice cream sticks to call student by name (names are written on the sticks), Word Tree to develop English vocabulary etc.

As a token of appreciation, one of the Government teachers, Mrs. Chinnamma offered biscuits to children and another teacher, Mr. Surendar, announced that the students scoring 10 out of 10 in the board examinations will be gifted with a cash award of Rs 2000.

We are happy that this program gives an opportunity to empower teachers to reach out and learn from one another, work together for everyone’s benefit. We are glad that the years spent in promoting and implementing such a practice is bearing rich fruit and that the culture of sharing and learning is extending beyond RDF schools.

 

 

The Spirit of Giving and Volunteering

Volunteers – their spirit of giving, their generosity of time, effort and commitment have been an integral part of RDF’s story since inception. RDF has been progressing for over two decades, not only due to financial support from organizations and individuals, but very importantly, also because of the many individuals who have volunteered their time to support RDF’s work.

Ms. Geeta Nambiar, an educationist from Chennai has volunteered with many NGOs across the world. She recently spent one month based in Matendla School, to offer her services to the students and the school team there. With English being a necessary language and skill in today’s world, she focused her efforts on working with Pre-primary and primary children and teachers to build their English communication skills. She also spent time with the villagers who asked her a very important question – “What is the use of staying for just a month? To make a difference you have to stay for a year.” She was unable to stay longer, but feels that in order to support the school and community’s development, other volunteers should try to stay longer.

She wrote a beautiful note about her stay at the school and her interactions with the local community –

Ms. Nambiar, in a teacher training session in MS

It was a privilege, indeed, to help the teachers with their English, at this school, which started under the trees, nearly 20 years ago and waited for 7 years before it got its beautiful building.
I was deeply moved to hear that every brick was handmade by the parents. These unlettered farmers and shepherds realized the value of education and later, the value of English when they requested for the change of medium.
The villagers were warm and friendly and invited me to their homes and many asked many questions. As first generation learners, educated in the Telegu  medium, the sincere, dedicated teachers truly deserve support .
The school is run with transparency, honesty and integrity and optimum utilization of resources including human resources. Discipline is strict but benevolent and the students happy, healthy, friendly and confident. Congratulations to the RDF and to the staff and students on what has been achieved in Matendla. May you go from strength to strength.”

Ms. Nambiar’s commitment created a wealth of experience for the children, teachers and the extended community. Her stay will be cherished forever in our memory and we are very grateful for her selfless support!

Mr. Kaeding’s note about the 4 schools

Another visitor to the RDF Kalleda School campus recently was Mr. Erik Kaeding, an educationist and attorney from California, USA, who has been supporting RDF’s sister NGO, the India Rural Development Fund (IRDF), for several years, through fundraising efforts and also served on the IRDF board. This was his third visit to RDF and he took the time to visit the four schools. He observed classes, interacting with teachers and students. He appreciated the training the teachers have gone through that enables them to create student friendly teaching and learning techniques that enrich the classes. He provided feedback and suggestion for improvement, including suggesting other child friendly techniques for teaching. He also took a tour of the organic farms and the school labs. He was impressed with the expansion of infrastructure in the four schools that includes more classrooms and school buses. The methodical transition to English medium and the increasing use of English in conversation and in teaching also made a positive impression on him.

Mr. Kaeding, interacting with villagers

He met several parents in each school, taking feedback on the education system and facilities at the schools. He was very happy to learn that the parents are satisfied with the facilities and the quality of education being provided and that the children are also happy and proud to be a part of RDF. He also met several alumni to discuss their careers, giving them tips about furthering their skills and ongoing learning and development on the job.

We are immensely grateful to every volunteer who supports RDF and the advice and help that they extend to the entire community. In their unique ways, the help Educate, Engage and Empower these deserving rural communities!

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!

Making Time for Teachers

Investing time and effort into carefully thought out training and development programs for RDF teachers has been the bedrock of RDF’s education philosophy. Kalleda School teachers have been feeling really gratified with various programs to enhance their professional teaching skills.

Visitors from the Krishnamurty Foundation

Members of the Krishnamurthy Education Foundation Trust – Mr. Kishore Khairnadh, Mrs. Kalyani Kishore, Mr. Subhash and Mrs. Anjana recently visited the school. They teachers and students enthusiastically put up their Science work and these exhibits led to animated conversations between the children and the visitors! They also spent time in Primary and High School classes, interacting with children and observing classes. They spoke at length with Class 10 students about the Board examinations and preparations for their onward educational journey.

They conducted an orientation program for teachers, giving them advice and strategies to enhance their skills. A big thank you to the Krishnamurthy Trust members for encouraging our teachers!

A demo class in progress

In another program – as part of their in-school training and development, teachers conducted demo lessons for feedback and improvement. This kind of peer sharing has worked very well for the teachers, who feel that it brings immense value to their teaching practice.

For the RDF family, it is lovely to see how selflessly the teachers support each other!

Founder’s Visit

The Vanitha Achutha Pai Vidyalaya – RDF’s esteemed Junior College has done the RDF community proud over the years. We are deeply grateful for visionaries like the founders of the college, who wanted were committed to supporting the development of the natives of their village. Therefore when the founder, Sri Anantha Pai visited the college, the students and staff welcomed him grandly.

He praised the efforts of the management, staff and students on their academic and sports accomplishments over the years. He stated that, “Strength is Life and Weakness is Death’ – reiterating the value of hard work. He interacted with all the students, asking them about their studies and extra curricular activities.

He spent time with teachers in their respective classes, giving them advice and valuable suggestions on how to guide youth and the importance of mentoring them. He shared his views on the numerous courses available and the plentiful opportunities that students can avail of. He encouraged them, saying, “You are all young, energetic and dynamic students. Use the facilities in your college well, read well, use research skills to improve subject knowledge and improve your communication skills.”

He stressed on the importance of hard work and was shown a presentation of student’s and alumni’s achievements. He blessed the students to continue their good work and do well in life. Everyone was enthused with his warm and encouraging words. His visit definitely motivated the students to work even harder to accomplish their goals – a life free from the struggles of poverty through the power of education!