FAQ

1. What is RDF?
2. What has RDF done so far?
3. What does RDF do now?
4. What is the girl/boy ratio in RDF schools?
5. How do RDF schools differ from government schools?
6. What % of RDF Income is used to run the schools?
7. Do you get any assistance from the government?
8. How can I help the cause?
9. Who are the current volunteers and educational partners?


1. What is RDF?
RDF stands for Rural Development Foundation. It was started by members of the Errabelli family who wanted to give back to the land that had brought them wealth. Recognizing access to quality education as the key to their success, they decided to start a school.  Today, RDF educates over 1600 students in four schools and one junior college throughout Andhra Pradesh. It was registered as a non-profit society under the Indian Public Societies Registration Act, on 10th April, 1996.


2. What has RDF done so far?
1333 rural children have graduated from RDF’s schools in the last 17 years. These are the first generation of rural boys and girls in the state of Andhra Pradesh who have received a full-time education from nursery through to the age of 17.

One of RDF’s major achievements is its success at enrolling large numbers of girls who traditionally have been denied an education. This has been achieved largely as a result of an innovative decision to charge lower fees for girl students.

Some of our students go on to successful academic and/or professional employment.  Others remain in the village and continue to participate in their communities.  As a result of their RDF experience, they are less susceptible to fraud, understand their rights better, have better hygiene and nutrition, lack chauvinism and will do more to educate their own children.

RDF ‘s great achievement is that by the quality of the education, it gives its students options so that they can make their own decisions about how to conduct their lives.This is a significant break with the past and the sort of lives the students’ mothers and fathers have endured in rural India.

Outside the classroom, RDF has played a significant role in trying to improve the villages where its schools are located. RDF believes that education is the best way to transform village life and lead families out of poverty. Children are encouraged to help their parents in the fields and at home, after school. Students are involved in the organic gardens attached to the schools which provide produce for the school mid-day meals. There are active parents’ committees helping in each of the schools and learning  about the importance of respecting their local surroundings; keeping the environment clean and tidy and keeping diseases at bay.


3. What does RDF do now?

RDF’s focus has always been on imparting high quality education and this continues to remain our top priority. Currently, RDF is focusing on its core strength: providing high quality education, in particular improving students’ written and spoken English language skills . Teachers are learning to use English in their daily life in various ways. Every week, teachers send information for the RDF blog in English and also maintain daily diaries.

We are in the process of transitioning to English medium in RDF Kalleda School, RDF  Rollakal School, and RDF Matendla School. We are being helped in this process by the staff of Silver Oaks School, Hyderabad and volunteers – both local and international. Silver Oaks School is also helping us with their innovative curriculum which leans away from rote learning, moving beyond text books and helping children learn from their natural environment and connecting it with real life.

To supplement our efforts in providing high quality education, we are using Khan Academy CD’s and accessing their free online tutorials for better understanding in Math and Science, the equipment and information was kindly donated to us by Value Labs.

Many of RDF’s graduates also work as policemen, teachers and Indian army and railway employees, call centre staff, tractor operators, barbers. Some have gone onto further education but find time to visit the schools to help students in a variety of way including supervising students on the Youth Empowerment and Social Awareness Programs.  Alumni helped us during the Joy of Giving Week and at the Microsoft NGO mela. Among many other programs, RDF is particularly proud of its Sports achievements.  RDF believes in exposing children to various forms of sporting talent, to build motivation and observe the skills required to do well. In this regard, 15 children were taken to view a volleyball competition  and later participate at the national level. RDF VAPV Junior College student, Lavanya, has been winning medals in Archery at the National Level, while 7 students have been selected to sports schools in sports quota.

Very recently, 2 class 9 girls from RDF Matendla School, N. Rekha and K. Premalatha, have been selected to participate in the National Karate Championship to be held later this year.


4. What is the girl/boy ratio in RDF schools?
All RDF schools are co-education schools and, if necessary, we go to great lengths to ensure that at least 50% of students are girls.


5. How do RDF schools differ from other schools in the area?
Children at our schools get a very high degree of personal attention. Our class size is limited to 25 students at the primary level. We lay a great emphasis on early childhood development. Consequently we start new schools only with kindergarten and classes 1,2 & 3 and then slowly expand into the higher classes.

Ongoing teacher training is a key focus area for RDF. Teachers regularly receive training in subject specific skills, classroom methodologies, interactive teaching methods, assessment techniques and language skills, in order to build their confidence and their capacity for greater student impact. Teachers are observed regularly in order to ensure that all training inputs are being implemented and handholding them through challenge areas.

A very unique approach adopted by RDF is peer assessment and assessment of teachers by students. Education committee students go twice a year to other schools for classroom observations and share their feedback with the Head Masters. This creates a transparent and empowered environment in the schools.

Additionally, in many rural Government schools, most of the primary sections for ages 6 to 9 are taught by one teacher in one room. In RDF schools, students get individualised attention due to small class sizes and different teacher for each grade.

RDF also focuses on Sports and other extra curricular activities which are an integral part of its holistic approach to education. Each school also has an active Parents Committee and Village Committee. All major decisions are taken with the involvement of both committees in order to build trust based relationships and engage the local community.

 

 


6. What % of RDF Income is used to run the schools?
A full 97.4% of the budget goes to run the schools. Only 2.6% is spent on administration and the rest is utilized by the schools directly.


7. Do you get any assistance from the government?
No.


8. How can I help RDF?
If you want to make a contribution to transforming the lives of rural under-privileged children, you can donate money, time, or services. You can join RDF as a membervolunteer and donate. Anything that you give will be gratefully accepted . Have any questions? Contact Us.

9. Who are the current volunteers and educational partners?
RDF is supported by a host of dedicated volunteers with varied expertise and assist us in specific areas of RDF operations.

Volunteers:

  1. Mrs. Jayashree Chary – Helping RDF in the realm of Accounts and Education.
  2. Grace Heusner – Based in Kalleda. Helping teachers and students in building English language skills in Kalleda, Redlawada and Wadlakonda schools
  3. Mrs. Vibha Hinduja – Helping RDF in the realm of Finance and Accounts
  4. Mrs. Girija Sastry  - Helping Kalleda and Matendla school in Math and Science for high school
  5. Neha Dharia-  Assisting in website updates and content
  6. Mahipal-  Guiding post holders in the use of systems and technology for RDF data
  7. Ramya Murthy – Helping RDF reach wider audiences through the use of social media and documentaries. PHOTO BLOG
  8. Ms. Priyankavir