RDF’s partnership with Silver Oaks – The School of Hyderabad, began in 2006 when RDF teachers started visiting their school to observe teaching techniques and methodology. In 2009, Silver Oaks began a fundraising campaign. The campaign entails a select group of students and teachers visiting RDF to participate in a ‘balamela’. Thereafter, they report back to the entire school, which then raises money to donate.
Both the fundraisers and the exchange visits have been great successes and proven very beneficial to both schools. In more recent times, Silver Oaks School has created a specialized and contextualized curriculum for RDF with teacher training and regular monitoring visits. This has provided tremendous impetus to RDF’s focus on quality. The curriculum has been rolled out in Nursery to Class 10 in RDF Kalleda and Matendla School and Nursery – Class 3 in RDF Rollakal School. With this support, the team has also been assisting in transition from Telugu to English Medium.
RDF started working with CfBT in 2003. Over the past years they have led multiple trainings for our teachers focused on enhancing their teaching skills. In May of 2010, CfBT began working with us to implement a transition to English medium in our schools. The level of our teachers’ English and teaching methods continues to improve thanks to CfBT. In 2012, CfBT also trained teachers in all schools in Physics with the support of CfBT volunteers. In addition, Science Kits were donated by the Head of CfBT, Mr. G.V.S. Prasad.
RDF Kalleda School received a generous gift of an English Lab with 10 computers and one server – a donation worth over Rs. 5 Lakh, by the management team at Synchrony Financial. With language software by ‘Wordsworth’, the lab is being utilised by both students and teachers as a teaching and learning resource centre. Mr. Faisal Ali Khan, Business Leader – Synchrony Financial, along with other senior team members, inaugurated the lab in 2015. Such an initiative is crucial to imparting English language and communication skills, thus giving RDF students the ability to graduate to their careers with employability skills in place. They initiated a summer camp that has been conducted for RDF students for the past 15 years. In 2016 too, a month long summer camp was held for 30 students in Hyderabad. The camp, funded by Synchrony Financial, focused on English Language skills and communication skills. Volunteers from Synchrony Financial facilitated the sessions during the camp. The Global Edge School provided accommodation and other amenities.
Inspired by the Deshpande Foundation’s Hubli Sandbox, Mr. Raju Reddy (Sierra Atlantic) and Mr. Phanindra Sama (redbus.in) are supporting the Kakatiya Sandbox initiative to empower the districts of Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Medak in the state of Telangana. Applying a ‘bottom up’ approach to building scalable solutions, the Kakatiya Sandbox works to create an effective ecosystem where resources are put to use through entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability. The aim of the Sandbox is to create an environment where an innovative approach to addressing social challenges is encouraged. It is a place where people come with ideas and work on them to make them a reality. They will empower the urban and rural youth with the leadership and skill development necessary to manage their own social enterprises and become the change their community needs. Through the implementation of these programs, effective, scalable and relevant solutions will develop from within the communities of these three districts. These are the interventions required by RDF to further empower our students and local communities. In 2014, Kakatiya Sandbox supported RDF staff by conducting training programs in Science and Social Studies. They also provided an opportunity to our staff to participate in their NGO programs.
The Village India Program was introduced in 1996. This program brings Washington University students to the RDF VAPV Junior College for one month each summer. During this time the Wash U students teach classes to the Junior College students and participate in cultural activities in Kalleda Village and the surrounding areas. The Village India Program is a great learning and cultural exchange that is always greatly enjoyed by both the American and Indian students. Weekly classes in photo blogging are conducted in Kalleda School, with inputs from Washington University volunteers, during their stay. This helps the students to improve language and communication skills.
The partnership between IRDF and RDF has existed since they were both founded in 1996. RDF implements projects in India, while IRDF focuses on raising funds in the US. IRDF provides an important funding source for RDF and we provide accountable and successful projects to benefit the rural poor of India.
Cargill, a privately held, international organisation, with offices in 65 countries, has been supporting RDF since 2009. Cargill actively engages with its employees to spread the word about RDF, and that resulted in receiving employee contributions from some of their international offices too. They have been supporting RDF’s ‘Sponsor a Child’ campaign for 12 years and also paying staff salaries. Mr. Gopul Shah and Mr. Maheep Shukla from Cargill visited Kalleda School in 2012. Later, Mr. Amjad Ishteyaque and Mr. Jayson Park also visited the school. They interacted with staff and children, catering to their inquisitiveness and offering advice to bright, young minds. RDF looks forward to the continued success of this partnership.
GE has been partnering with RDF since 2006, helping RDF students in Communication Skills training since 2010. Selected batches of students from Kalleda and Matendla Schools have been training at the GE Campus in Gachibowli to improve their interpersonal and communication skills. This has really allowed the students to develop their confidence, thereby performing better in academic and non academic activities. In early 2013, GE invited RDF’s students to a program to celebrate International Women’s Day, which saw several people moved by the girls sharing their personal journeys of struggle and empowerment. RDF Alumni also addressed GE senior management at a Leadership Summit, which was a great honour for RDF. RDF’s aim goes far beyond merely graduating students after completing schooling. We take an active interest in their growth and development, hence providing them with such skills can go a long way in empowering them.
Infor has been instrumental in initiating, funding and supporting the Rollakal School construction. Rollakal School had to vacate its old rented premises in the village of Wadlakonda in February 2012 and for a while; classes were conducted under trees at the new school site. Once the initial funds were received from Infor, we were able to construct temporary structures to house some classrooms. Infor actively led fundraising efforts internally, to raise the necessary funds for permanent construction.
Infor provided Rs. 25 Lakh towards the project, with an additional Rs. 15 Lakh committed by a family trust. Now, thanks to the goodwill and support of the Infor team, Rollakal staff and students have a full-fledged school building, with well-ventilated classrooms, staff rooms, washrooms, and library. Infor closely monitored the construction, with staff taking an active part, including a large team visiting the site over 2 days to paint it. Their efforts have ensured that 200+ students and 18 staff get the facilities that they deserve.
Kapil Trust has come on board as the funding partner for Matendla School. They have intensively with the team to make the school sustainable and handholding the school in the process. This has helped RDF tremendously in easing the challenge of continually collecting funds needed for our operations. In addition to this, the team also sponsored Rs. 2 lakhs towards building a water purification plant at the school. Matendla School has been very fortunate to have a water purification plant as the village did not have pure drinking water, with astounding 450-900% fluoride content in it. This has been causing dental problems among old as well as young people resulting in replacement of teeth due to fluorosis. Now with this plant in the school, not only do the staff and students, but the village has access to purified water. This has also provided an income stream to the school since the school sells purified water to the villagers at a reasonable price. In 2015-16, the trust also donated a school bus to the school, in addition to another bus donated by them in the past. This has allowed the school to increase its enrolment and impact more villages. In the same year further funding has been received to commence construction of a new block which will house new classrooms, science and computer labs, a dining hall and kitchen.
Since 2009, we have been very fortunate to have developed a strong association with Microsoft through their CSR firm – Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). RDF is on CAF’s approved list of NGO’s that Microsoft employees can donate to. It was through this association that we have been invited to their MS Giving campaign every year and subsequently, another community event in December 2011, where 20 Kalleda School students got the chance to visit their campus for an afternoon of fun and games. The students were accompanied by their computer teacher. They interacted with the team, learnt about MS programs and games and got to play on their systems. In 2012, RDF was invited to the launch of Windows 8, an event which saw Microsoft volunteers unveil Windows 8 live to RDF students! Core staff attended MS Azure, a workshop for NGOs.
CAF representative, Dr. Shyamala, visited RDF schools in April 2016 to review the activities, operations and utilization of CAF funds. Post this visit and review, RDF received a Valedictory Certificate from CAF after the report was shared.
Redlawada School has been very fortunate to have received a donation of Rs. 6 lakhs approximately from Cognizant Foundation for improving school facilities – infrastructure as well as education. The school utilized part of the funds towards purchasing Science equipment, library books and computers. The school has been benefited immensely from the addition of such materials, which allows teachers and students to expand the scope of learning. The school also got a new borewell, which provides clean water to everyone. To solve the constant power shortages, the school also got a generator, ensuring that classes are not always disrupted due to outages. With the remaining funds, the school has now begun construction of new classrooms, which will be a huge relief for classes that have been conducted under trees or in temporary structures so far. Cognizant has provided another grant to fund the painting of the new school block at Redlawada School. Invensys, an MNC, has provided funding to build a dining hall in Redlawada.
The Australian Consulate’s Direct Aid Program is a grants program funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The aim of DAP is to advance development objectives and address hardship in developing countries, while at the same time supporting Australia’s international relations and public diplomacy objectives.
DAP is administered through Australia’s overseas diplomatic posts on an annual basis. In 2012-13, we were very honoured to receive a grant of Rs. 3.23 Lakh for the construction of toilets at Redlawada and Rollakal. The grant has given necessary funds to provide basic hygiene and sanitation facilities in both schools. The money helped to build 8 toilets and 6 urinals in Redlawada and 6 toilets and 6 urinals in Rollakal, thus created a healthy school environment.
RDF’s relationship with Andhra Mahila Sabha’s relationship has been a long standing one – since RDF Kalleda School was established in 1996. Over the years, they have been instrumental in providing training to our teachers, with new teachers being trained by senior teachers in the same practices. To augment this relationship, Kalleda School was selected to be part of a study to gauge the impact of Early Child Education (ECE) program. This study has been initiated by The Ministry of Human Resource across three states viz. A.P, Rajasthan and Assam and funded by the World Bank. The Andhra Mahila Sabha is the agency executing the study in two districts in A.P, namely Medak and Warangal and ten villages have been selected within each of these two districts. Since the Andhra Mahila Sabha has seen RDF’s efforts towards providing quality education at close quarters, we were honoured to be selected to be a party of this study. The team from Andhra Mahila Sabha visited the school on 15th & 16th November, 2011. Ten students from Nursery have been identified, whose progress would be monitored over a five year period. The association with the Andhra Mahila Sabha continues to be a fine source of support for our schools and their teams visit our schools, observe classes and suggest different measures for qualitative improvement. In 2017, the team visited RDF Kalleda school and expressed happiness over the functioning of the school, which they felt better than other schools.
At the beginning of 2010, RDF partnered with Bridges to Understanding to develop a Youth Empowerment class in our schools. Bridges to Understanding is a nonprofit organization based out of Seattle that uses digital storytelling as a medium for self-expression and cultural exchange among students across the world. The curriculum is used in RDF schools to encourage students to explore issues in their local communities.
RDF started a partnership with Hyderabad-based EuroSchool in 2009 when they donated educational materials to our schools. The relationship has now progressed to on in which knowledge and skills are shared between the schools. RDF teachers and staff have visited EuroSchool to observe their school programs and teaching methodology and have hosted EuroSchool teachers on visits to our schools. RDF has also attended and partaken in EuroSchool’s annual cultural program.
In 2008, RDF received a grant from the Rubin Foundation in New York to develop a program with the intent of maintaining aspects of culture that are in danger of dying out. RDF developed a program in which students learn the traditions of the local Lambadi culture such as mirror embroidery, dance, and storytelling. Many of these traditions are at risk of disappearing as the Lambadi give up their nomadic lifestyle and the project has proven a great way to educate students about a local culture and to pass on many of the techniques in an interesting and interactive setting.