Archive for the ‘Visitors’ Category

Fruitful partnerships and efforts..

Our vibrant community of education and financial partners strive hard to support the skilling and development of our schools and providing tons of inspiration to the children in the process! Infor has been supporting RDF for over 10 years. Rollakal School stands today due to the fundraising efforts by the Infor management and employees who donated sufficient funds that enabled us to construct a permanent school building in Rollakal village. Over the years, their employees have also conducted workshops and talks on skills such as English language development, technology and career guidance.

Last month, Infor employees visited Redlawada School for a green initiative. They planted 140 saplings that consisted of 100 coconut trees, 20 flowering trees and 20 fruit bearing plants! The plantation drive showed the students the value of social service and conserving the environment. Though rural areas are still green compared to urban areas, planting more sapling will go towards making the area even more lush!

Another special initiative that was taken was to ‘name’ all the plants on the names of the Infor employees and RDF team. Together, they decided that birthdays would be commemorated through remembering the person who planted the specific tree! It was a sweet thought that everyone was delighted with! Several parents also visited the school on the occasion and it reiterated the importance of developing social responsibilities in their children, in addition to their academic development. The parent community that strongly supports RDF schools was also happy to meet the visitors and blessed the green efforts.

The day was literally fruitful and everyone went home with a sense of satisfaction and pride in their school and our partners.

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Planting for our Planet

RDF children sure take their social responsibilities very seriously. Living in the lap of nature in rural India, the slow degradation of the green cover is intensely personal as they see it right before their eyes. Haritha Haram – Telangana Government’s flagship programme to increase the green cover in the state has been taken up enthusiastically by RDF schools. These children are eager and determined to do their bit to help their local environ and thus, the planet. Teachers and children often take nature walks and have activities and discussions on what they, as citizens can do to keep the environment alive and healthy.

Students of Classes 6 – 8 participated in the recent Haritha Haram programme by inviting the Warangal Rural collector, Mrs. Haritha and other Government officials. Together, they planted many saplings, not just in the school, but in the neighbourhood too! It was lovely to see the community spirit and effort in full swing. The children also took responsibility to care for 1 plant each.

The collector gave several suggestions on how to look after the saplings and other initiatives that can be taken to keep the environment green. The children took these messages to heart and over the next few days, were seen urging the local villagers to plant more saplings and look after the existing plants and trees in their homes and neighbourhoods! We are so proud of their sense of responsibility towards our planet and having the courage to spread positive messages, thus creating a positive impact on their communities.

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.

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!