Volunteers bring with them new skills to share, different approaches and methods to be tested, and an enthusiasm for our cause. While working with us, volunteers are expected to create systems that will allow their work to be replicated in the future as well as to share their talents with teachers and staff in order that their knowledge will remain available and continue to impact the students, schools, and organization after their departure.
4 months, November ‘10 – February ‘11
Arrived in November and will share her extensive administration and management knowledge with the schools as well as the head office. Vivienne will be helping the CEO with recruitment, administration and public relations efforts.
Vivienne says:“RDF is truly transforming the lives of hundreds of rural under-privileged children and their families in the state of Andhra Pradesh, thanks to its imaginative and lively approach to education. It is a privilege to have been part of this unique educational project.”
Johanna Bjork and Gudrun Hulda
3 months, October – December ‘10
Arrived together in October and are introducing the Youth Empowerment Digital Storytelling Program at Matendla. They will also take charge of the art class and will run a comics workshop based on the ideology of a grassroots NGO World Comics India.
Johanna says: “Imagine this: Having lunch with 370 big smiles,working with students who would rather have a consecutive 13 day school-week than having a day off, and having children singing outside your room while you finish tomorrow’s homework in the evening. This is my reality!”
Gudrun says: “There is something magically ordinary about Matendla. The atmosphere is peaceful, hopeful and friendly. Students, school staff and villagers alike treat me with warmth, courtesy and happy smiles. My heart has a reason to smile every day.”
3 months, September – December ‘10
Sophie is the first Bridges to Understanding intern to arrive in Hyderabad and take over the Youth Empowerment program at Kalleda. During her stay she will also be helping the home office with the Sponsor a Child program and marketing efforts.
Sophie says: “Working with RDF has been an enriching life experience both through its rewards and challenges. The organization’s unique mission and implementation in the classroom makes working with the students a collaborative and fulfilling effort. This experience has exposed me to a completely different way of life, and provided me with the stability and access to learn from others, and especially from myself.”
3 months, September – December ‘10
Robert arrived in Hyderabad in September. He is CELTA TEFL certified and worked closely with teachers at Narsimpalli School to improve their skills and aid in the transition to English medium.
Robert says: “Each school has its own unique character, but all RDF staff and students share the same enormous dedication to making the most of very little. Volunteering here has meant making a visible impact on the lives of remarkable people – there’s nothing to compare to that feeling.”
8 months, August ’10 – March ‘11
Piya is working in the role of Public Relations and Development Manager. She is working closely with Smt. Neena Rao (Strategic Advisor) to create sustainable systems, partnerships and fundraising strategies. Her major tasks include brand management, creating marketing materials, planning the annual fund- raiser, establishing an online presence for RDF, and building and maintaining relationships with partners and donors.
Piya says: “As an Indian who has been brought up outside of India my whole life, my work with RDF was an amazing opportunity to come back and experience India in a very real way. To learn about village life, meanwhile navigating the non profit culture of urban Hyderabad has been a rich learning experience and one I will carry with me forever. “
Samata and Shubha Katta
1 month, June – July ‘10
They Divided their month between Matendla School and Kalleda School. Samata, who will be a senior biology major at University of California at Berkely, came out as part of her Global Poverty and Practice minor. She designed a series of science experiments using simple materials and intended for the students to perform themselves. Samata and her mother Shubha, a chemist, demonstrated the experiments and worked with teachers to incorporate them into the curriculum. In addition, they both taught conversational English classes to interested students.
2 Weeks, June ’10
An International Baccalaureate student in Austria, couldn’t resist the rave reviews of his sister Bella, so he hopped a plane to check out RDF for himself! Dividing two weeks between Matendla and Kalleda he spent time teaching conversational English, joining in the sports, and exploring the area. Nick also managed to pick Vandita’s brain about the inner workings and finances of the organization before continuing on to a business camp in China!
1 week, June ‘10
A teacher in New York, came to Kalleda School to visit his friend Marena and found himself volunteering. He spent his afternoons at Wadlakonda School School finishing the CfBT courses with teachers there.
11 months, December ’09 – October ‘10
She taught her second Youth Empowerment class, which created a digital story about dowry (the first focused on water pollution and political corruption). She also took care of administrative tasks related to board meetings and coordinated volunteers and guests, including the Washington University program and the partnership with Bridges to Understanding. She also updated information on the RDF website.
5 months, December ’09 – April ‘10
Co-taught a Youth Empowerment course with Elizabeth Sewell and individually produced a digital story focused on earth pollution with half of the students. Additionally, she took on the role of PR and Development Manager. During her time with RDF, she tackled the enormous task of gathering and cataloguing information regarding the needs of all five schools and the junior college.
Marena Lin first came to Kalleda last summer and taught several English classes experimenting with Linguaphone technology. She returned on a research grant from Harvard and lived in Kalleda for one month, during which she took time to help teach CfBT English classes to teachers at Redlawada School. While here she also taught Ultimate Frisbee to the JC students, explored surrounding area by “cycle,” and introduced everyone to “the world’s best samosas” in the next village!