We salute the social responsiveness of our Kalleda School students!
We read about tragic incidents involving young children slipping and losing their lives after falling into borewells. Incidences of borewell related injuries and deaths bothered students in the school. With help from their teachers and classmates, the children have closed almost every empty borewell site temporarily with soil and stones. Their next step is appealing to farmers to permanently fill the pits and make parents more vigilant about the danger of open borewell pits in their neighborhoods.
After discussing the perils of alcoholism and smoking, Matendla students went home and talked with their parents– 40 percent of parents subsequently changed their habits.
That’s just one example of how RDF’s emphasis on social awareness is improving lives of the children and their communities. RDF believes that education isn’t limited to the classrooms. Instead, it arms children with knowledge and a mission to better their world.
At Kalleda, students debate issues at school-wide assemblies, picking topics relevant to their lives like dowry, child marriages and pollution. Students also attend local sarpanch (village elders) level meetings to discuss better roads and clean water.
We share a few highlights –
Kalleda School holds muchata — an open house where students debate issues like inter-faith marriage and why various local traditions and folklore are important. After learning about the harmful effects of tobacco, students enlisted their fathers to stop using beedis (local cigarettes) and paan with great success.
Matendla School students and staff demonstrated the power of democracy and empowerment, by speaking to villagers about the right to vote and the need to vote to elect the right representative in the Gram Panchayat elections. Their efforts resulted in a 97.5% poll rate in Matendla village for the first time ever in 2014!
Rollakal School has organized ‘green drives’ in their school and community by planting trees.
Redlawada school students have spread awareness on the ills of using plastic bags on the environment, creating toxic waste and encouraging villagers to use paper bags. They even made several paper bags from recycled paper and distributed them around shops in neighbouring villages!
Such real-life campaigns highlight RDF’s values: education and engagement leading to empowerment.
The variety and beauty of India’s many seasons also brings with it many diseases. The Indian Monsoons typically cause health concerns, with people falling sick due to malaria, typhoid and other viral diseases. The National Service Scheme (NSS) students enrolled in the Junior College, went on a door to door awareness campaign to educate the locals on the perils of monsoon induced diseases. Each student volunteer adopted 2 streets to comprehensively cover Kalleda and some surrounding villages, to educate people about such diseases, their prevention, sanitation and remedies. Their efforts were lauded by the village Secretary and the Sarpanch and will be continued on an annual basis.
Such programs instills a sense of responsibility in students, who see themselves as part of the larger community and committing to its welfare and well being.
Ganesh Chavithi: September brings Ganesha festivities. RDF children happily get to work making clay Ganesha idols and organising rallies to advocate and raise awareness to make our festivals earth friendly – an act of honour towards our planet and her longevity. The RDF community has inspired their local villages to go eco friendly, not only distributing clay idols, but also encouraging locals to ditch making POP idols. The decorations and puja materials are all natural and environment friendly – taken from the local resources available. Matendla School also organised a beautiful event of ‘Vinayaka Bhajanas’, where the talented children and teachers sang melodious songs in praise of Ganesha, adding to the air of festivity.
Video links of the ‘bhajanas’ –
Health Camps: The health of our children is of prime importance. The local RDF teams coordinate with health professionals in their area to organise health camps. Medicines for common ailments are also distributed for free at these camps.
Kantivelugu: A government initiated program for the citizens of Telangana for quality eye care. As a part of this programme, medical officers visited RDF schools and conducted an eye test for all students and staff. They also distributed spectacles for the students who needed, free of cost.
Haritha Haram: This is also a government initiative to increase the green cover in Telangana and encourage citizen awareness and participation in maintaining a green environment. As a part of this programme, RDF children and staff in each school has planted a variety of plants in their respective campus. This not only increases the greenery in the school, but also involves community participation, leading to a diversity of plants and ecological awareness thriving in the local communities.