Anna Ferrer; RDT Executive Director
1969-2019: Half a century of action. 50 years of silent revolution in India.
Rural Development Trust (RDT), the counterpart of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) in India, celebrates 50 years of humanitarian aid with a single purpose: to alleviate suffering caused by poverty, disease and discrimination. A big milestone for a grassroots organization that started working in Anantapur district during the 70s and now reaches out to thousands of villages in disadvantaged rural areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, making an impact on the lives of more than 3 million people.
“This is a commemoration for the Anantapur people and everyone who is playing a role in it. From the volunteers to the directors, from the farmers to the students. It is the celebration of dignity, change and equality,” said Anne Ferrer, RDT Executive Director.
Half a century of experience has served to consolidate a work methodology that addresses all aspects that promote prosperity and development of rural communities in South India, through programs aimed at creating a self-sufficient society. The organization works in coordination with a network of representatives of the communities, organizing adapted interventions to the needs of the local population.
Its integral action and humanistic vision, based on the philosophy of action of its founder, Vicente Ferrer, has resulted in a benchmark development model in the framework of cooperation. Currently, more than 130,000 collaborators take part on this ambitious project for the eradication of poverty in India, a country that still needs solidarity people to advance towards social justice.
To ensure involvement of communities in this commemoration, more than 4,000 postcards have been distributed among the local people, asking them to share their experiences with the organization and about the main issues that should be addressed by VVF/RDT in the upcoming years.
Moncho Ferrer, RDT’s program director, has pointed out: “This is a significant year for us, to look back at what we have achieved but more importantly to set the stage for the next fifty years of RDT. For that, we need to know people’s opinions.”
A comprehensive development program that creates prosperous and self-sufficient communities
The Foundation’s work system in the field has transformed the reality of rural areas, exponentially increasing the integral program. From the 200 villages with which work began, the project today extends to more than 3,600. The sponsorship of many people from Europe and the United States represents a qualitative improvement for the rural population. Under this formula, the children of India ensure their education and proper health care. Moreover, the entire community where they live also benefits from the donation.
The implementation of the Foundation’s programs in the South of India has allowed consolidating an entire generation that does not exclude itself because it belongs to a social group or a specific caste. It has endowed a good part of the population with self-esteem, which 50 years ago believed to be worthy of a life of suffering marked by their social origin, their disability or even being a woman.
Since its inception, the Foundation team is made up of local people, born in or residents of the areas where the organization works. Currently, a team of 2,500 people (48% women) promotes the development and sustainable economy in their communities. The work structure is organized in six different sectors - Health, Education, Habitat, Disability, Women and Ecology -, and distributed by territorial areas. The direction of these sectors and areas is in Indian personnel hands, in a parity way. All of them are people committed to justice, effort and action, beyond their work.
There is still much to do in India, the country with the largest amount of poor people in the world. The Vicente Ferrer Foundation has been working during the last 50 years towards the empowerment of rural communities and supporting them in their struggle to eradicate poverty, suffering and injustice. In order to go further is essential to continue generating alliances with society. Half a century dedicated to social justice and gender equality and the mission goes on.
Find more information about our work over 50 years in India in the following links:
RDT at a glance; vision, where we work, our history, RDT approach (web and video): https://rdtfvf.org/rdt-at-a-glance/
50thAniversary (video in English): https://rdtfvf.org/50th-anniversary/
50thAniversary (web and videos in Spanish): https://www.fundacionvicenteferrer.org/50aniversario/