Archive for the ‘Visitors’ Category

Supporting RDF’s Vision for Rural Students

Susheela (L), with her parents

Rural children sometimes do not have the optimum support from their parents due to factors such as financial or emotional duress. Such was Daravath Susheela’s case, a 1st year Intermediate student in RDF VAPV Junior College. She belongs to a poor, tribal family, with six siblings, that live in difficult circumstances. Since they had to focus on earning a meager living, they were not able to give much attention or interest to Susheela’s desire to go to college.

However, Susheela had a tremendous desire to do well in life and help her family out of poverty. She studied well and was very sincere. Her luck turned when she met Mr. Sudheer, CEO, Yashoram Software Solutions & Director, Operations – Teach Ace Software Solutions, who was visiting the college to interact with the students. He was impressed by Susheela’s innate intelligence, understanding of academics and her sincerity. He decided to sponsor her education, after learning about her family and also promised to provide education for 2 students in the next academic year. With this economic relief for her family, Susheela’s parents are very happy and conveyed their profuse gratitude to Sudheer Sir.

Mr. Sudheer, addressing the students

We are grateful to our sponsors like Mr. Sudheer, who understand our rural students’ circumstances, believe in our vision and work to educate and empower students and support us. We convey our gratitude to each and every one of our supporters!

Kids Just Want to have Fun!

It is so important for students to have fun, rather than being consumed by academic pursuits. The 5 RDF institutions and the 2 Government partnership schools follow a philosophy of holistic education, with emphasis on sports, pursuit of vocational skills, nurturing students’ innate talent and extracurricular activities, alongside academics. Students genuinely enjoy coming to school and thrive in the nurturing environment.

Students of the Tech Mahindra Foundation – RDF partnership Government Primary School in Bahadurapally village, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, put up a wonderful ‘Balothsav’ (Children’s Festival) just before lockdown started. At the time, unaware of the impending lockdown, the kids were also very busy preparing for their final examinations; yet their enthusiasm for this event made them put in the work required to prepare well. They balanced their academic responsibilities and preparation for this festival in a wonderful manner!

Students from all classes participated in skits, songs, drill, folk dances, speeches and other cultural activities. The Chief Guest was impressed with their performance and encouraged them continue focusing on such extracurricular activities. H also appreciated the support given by the teachers. The day ended on a high note, with everyone basking in the glow of executing a well planned and delivered event that brought joy to the students, teachers, parents, the village community and other attendees. The children were gifted examination writing boards, which they were delighted to receive!

A Community of Kindness

RDF’s community relationships are very strong and have been built over a period of time, with effort from the school team, students, parents and the village residents too. Now we receive so much local support in the form of financial and kind donations, academic and extracurricular workshops, lifeskills sessions and motivational talks. We are really grateful for this local level community help, which helps us to remember how much love and kindness there still is in this world.

MPTC member, Mrs. Revathi Kumar (L) distributing stationery material for Class 10 exams to students

Class 10 students, with their new examination stationery

The local MPTC (Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency) and ward members visited Rollakal School in early March, in order to provide them with advice and motivation for the Class 10 Board Exams, which were slated to be held in late March. Though schools have been shut for over a month due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the counsel given by the local MPTC member, Mrs. Athhi Revathi Kumar, remains evergreen. She asked students to work hard, remember their dreams and goals and work towards them, with all the skills they have learnt in school, with the help of their teachers. They distributed stationery material such as writing pads, white sheets for practicing, pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners.

We thank the MPTC members for distributing new stationery material, which the students were happy to receive and also motivating them. Though the current situation remains uncertain, we are happy to report that our students continue to practice their lessons at home and helping out at home in their free time.

Crafting New Skills

Saritha ma’am, preparing workshop materials

Infor, the Multinational technology company, has been supporting RDF for several years. They were instrumental in the construction of a permanent school building for Rollakal School and have initiated many student and teacher development programmes too.

Beautiful decorative items

A team from Infor visited Rollakal School last month to meet with the school community. This visit was made extra special when an Infor team member, Saritha ma’am, taught a creative workshop for children using waste material. The kids were very enthused to learn something new, using discarded plastic and household waste material. They learnt how to make items such as door mats, door curtains, ear rings, hair clips, hair ribbons, rings, necklaces, garlands and decorative boxes!

Stunning jewellery

She urged the students to create awareness in the larger community about the harmful effects of plastic and how to recycle and upcycle it, since plastic can be found everywhere!

Learning new methods of craft and art brings more confidence to our children, as they develop skills that can be used productively in their lives.

Once again, we are very grateful to Team Infor for the innovative workshops they conduct for the betterment of our students!.

An Official Visit

Mr. Jithender Reddy, interacting with students

Compliance with State Education parameters is an essential part of running our schools. RDF institutions pride themselves on their meticulous record keeping which helps with time management and efficiency. This is precisely what was highlighted when the District Intermediate Education Officer, Sri Jithender Reddy, visited the RDF VAPV Junior College as part of the education department’s inspection.

Mr. Reddy (L), inspection the college admin records

He was impressed with how all the administrative records regarding class schedules, timetables, institute strength and laboratories was maintained. He then observed each class, enquiring about syllabus and revision schedule.

He interacted with lecturers and students, giving them sound advice on preparing for their annual examination, as well as how to succeed in life and looking after themselves and their families. He also taught a class and was pleased with the students’ engagement, their understanding and responses.

Bridging Communities

RDF’s work extends well beyond the classrooms and the walls of the school. Community engagement is a core part of our mission. Over the years, each school team has worked with utmost commitment to motivate the rural communities about the power of education, educating girl children, mitigating social issues, increasing awareness about environment issues etc. With a core tenet of transparency, many bridges have been built between each school and the rural communities in which they operate.

Our holistic education philosophy and academic and extracurricular accomplishments have led many organisations and individuals to visit our school, with a view to understand our work and find meaningful ways to contribute.

Rollakal School was visited by some students from a Hyderabad based corporate school and their parents, with a view to meet students and clarify subject specific doubts. There was a lively discussion regarding various subjects and the visitors were impressed with the students’ understanding and knowledge about various subjects and concepts.

The Class 10 students met separately to talk about the Class 10 exams, get advice on preparation, sitting for competitive exams and career development. They also conducted a fun quiz competition, which met with an enthusiastic response. Together, they played volleyball, badminton and cricket, ending the day on a high.

While leaving, they said, “The village and the school environment is filled with greenery. It’s a beautiful environment. We are very happy that our children enjoyed themselves with the children in the school, like their brothers and sisters.”

Helping Hands

The feeling of community is what drives RDF’s rural schools to become beacons of excellence locally. The schools function as far beyond educational institutions and in fact, have been instrumental in creating communal networks that have helped the schools and their extended communities to thrive.The schools look upon their local communities and parent communities to make key decisions for the running of the schools. The locals, with their trust in the schools, also look at myriad ways to help in whichever way they can.

It was in this spirit that Matendla School invited Mr. Masa Yadagiri, Sarpanch (elected village head), Narayanraopet village, to the school as the Chief Guest for the distribution of the Class 10 Hall Tickets. He met with the students and offered suggestions to help them focus and write their Board exams. He was pleased the students’ performance in all areas and was impressed with the system being followed in the school. He donated a set of instruments for the school band, an initiative that was first taken by the Primary school English teacher, Mr. K. Ashok. The parents of the Class 10 students were also present and the Parent Committee Chairman, Mr. Davaraju donated examination pads to each student.

We feel immensely supported by our local communities who help support their local school for better functioning. It enables parents to also be a part of the school, thus empowering everyone to do what is best for the schools!

An Interactive Experience

Silver Oaks, an International school in Hyderabad has been RDF’s education partner for over 10 years! What has remained the same over this decade has been their commitment and dedication to help RDF’s rural, underprivileged children in myriad ways to help with their development and potential success in school and beyond school. What has changed is how they continually evolve their work with our school, based on what’s happening in our communities and the school and using this feedback to add to or modify their interventions. This makes their work with us very contextual for the students and teachers, something we are very grateful for!

Matendla School was honoured with a visit by 36 students and 4 staff members from the school. From our end, we wanted exposure for our students to interact with new people and feel confident to exchange their views and ideas. The Silver Oaks team observed activities such as the ‘Balamela’, ‘Marks for Sports’ and other cultural activities. Through the day, the students exchanged ideas about academics and other areas.

Both groups felt enriched by the experience as the Silver Oaks students also understood the very different life and circumstances that rural children lead and the effort being made by the school, with Silver Oaks’ support to create a rich curriculum that allows for learning to be fun and meaningful. RDF children enjoyed meeting their city counterparts and learning from them.

 

An Inspirational Interaction

Students interacting with Mr. Ahmad on stage

Mr. Ajaz Ahmad is renowned in the Telangana region as a motivational speaker, newsreader, handwriting trainer and has received many awards in his illustrious career. The RDF VAPV Junior College was honoured to receive him as a guest, in order to interact with the students and faculty.

He spoke at length about the over-dependence on technology and how it is degrading human values due to loss of social interactions and values. He definitely had the students’ attention from the get go when he asked them if they wanted to know how he achieved what he did in his life. The answer, of course, was a resounding ‘yes’! He explained that yoga and dhyanam (meditation), for just half an hour a day gave him the equanimity and focus, which has helped him tremendously in life! He inspired the students and the faculty with his wit and wisdom, giving them many helpful ideas on a range of themes like how to manage time, personality development and how to build one’s career. He also delved into reading and writing techniques which will be very useful in their academic work.

He ended his inspiration talk with saying that, “Success depends on hard work”, urging them to put in effort to feel pride in their achievements and making their parents and the college proud. Everyone had a wonderful time meeting Mr. Ahmad and absorbing the wisdom and practical techniques which he shared so generously with everyone!

For the Love of Poetry

Telugu poets from the Telangana region have been working towards preserving the poetry writing tradition in the vernacular. Groups of poets have also been encouraging new poets in rural areas. To promote the art of Telugu poetry, they organized a programme called ‘Urura Kavisammelanam’ in the RDF VAPV Junior College campus.

Several regional poets read out their poems to much applause and appreciation by the attendees, including the young JC students! G. Susmitha of MPC 2nd Year has been exploring poetry as a medium to express her thoughts and feelings. She was nervous to read out her poems in front of the esteemed guests, but was encouraged by her lecturers and friends. She writes about the importance of parents, friends and the beauty of such relationships. After reading out her poems, she gave her views on the importance of maintaining familial relationships, expressing her sadness when she hears of parents being sent to old age homes, when to her, they are akin to Gods.

Her simple words and heartfelt expression won the hearts of the audience and the guests awarded her a cash prize of Rs. 300, a shawl and a memento. We hope young Susmitha explores poetry writing further and earns a name for herself!