La Liga to start a football revolution in India by partnering with Anantapur Sports Academy

The Under-17 World Cup, hosted by India in 2017, showed the potential of football in India. Keeping the above developments in mind, Spain’s premier football division, La Liga, announced their partnership with Rural Development Trust (RDT) to promote football culture among the rural youth in Anantapur.

Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), RDT’s sport for development initiative, which follows a well-structured grassroots development programme, focusses on developing players from a young age and has channelled a football revolution in rural Anantapur through its 20 odd football clubs and close to 1600 players.

The partnership will primarily focus on supporting the girls’ participation in football by providing players and coaches with technical support and necessary equipment. The initial phase of the partnership will include female coaches from ASA grassroots bonding with Spanish coaches through interactive videos. The interactions will also include queries relating to coaching as well as the challenges faced by girls while participating in sport in Spain.

The partnership with La Liga Foundation will further enhance our efforts towards promoting football among the rural children and youth of Anantapur, particularly girls, and it will provide a platform to rural children and youth to access their ‘Right to Play’. We are pleased to be partnering with La Liga Foundation and we believe, together, we can bring the benefits of sport a step closer to the children and youth in the region of Anantapur”, says Miquel Llado, Technical Director, ASA Football Academy”.

The debutants U13 ASA Football Academy, the only academy from Andhra Pradesh, gave a good start to 2018 as they remained unbeaten in the AIFF (All India Football Federation) Youth League only to get knocked out due to single goal difference. Girls’ participation in ASA Grassroots Football Program witnessed an international success story when R Shobha, U 15 girls volunteer coach at Kalyandurg FC went on to represent Team India in the Homeless World Cup, Norway in 2017.

In the coming months, the collaboration will see La Liga officials and Spanish coaches coming to Anantapur and interact one-to-one with the football players and coaches from the ASA football program.

The partnership will be a start of a football revolution in India. Moreover, through this partnership there is possibility of a perspective change in the minds of the parents that sport too, can be an important tool for the growth of an individual and social development.

La Liga to take football to new level in rural India

Spain’s premier football league La Liga has announced its partnership with Anantapur-based Rural Development Trust (RDT) to promote football among the rural youth, especially the girls.

RDT, through its sport-for-development initiative Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), is conducting a yearly football league – Anantapur Football League (AFL) – and this partnership will primarily focus on increasing girls’ participation in football through the established league.

AFL, a much-awaited annual football extravaganza played over three months, saw a participation of around 1600 girls and boys in 400 matches played between 18 football clubs of ASA Grassroots Football Programme across six age categories in 2017.

“The partnership with La Liga Foundation will further enhance our efforts towards promoting football among rural children and youth of Anantapur, particularly girls, and it will provide a platform to rural children and youth to access their ‘Right to Play’.

“We are pleased to be partnering with La Liga Foundation and we believe, together, we can bring the benefits of sport a step closer to the youth of Anantapur,” Miquel Llado, Technical Director, ASA Football Academy, told Sportstar.

The partnership involves female coaches from ASA Grassroots Football Programme interacting with coaches from Spain via videos. These audio-visual interactions will comprise a question and answer session alongwith nittygritties of coaching and the challenges faced by girls while participating in sport in Spain. The La Liga will also support players by providing them football equipment and technical support.

The later stages of the collaboration will see La Liga officials and Spanish coaches coming to Anantapur to see the progress and interact with the football players and coaches from the region.

ASA helped past players in continuing their passion by supporting 22 volunteer coaches, who played previous editions of the league, secure All India Football Federation (AIFF) ‘D’ license in coaching.

The push towards promoting participation of girls in sport at the grassroots already witnessed an international success story when R. Shobha, part of the grassroots, represented India at the Homeless World Cup 2017 held in Norway.

“Football has made me a confident individual and a team leader which has helped me to be strong during difficult times,” says R, Shobha, U-15 Girl Volunteer Coach at Kalyandurg FC.

Truly, La Liga-ASA partnership is the beginning of a football revolution in rural India.


– A Tribal Young Man from Anantapur exhibits the picture of RDT’s Founder on the Mount

Ramavath Chinni Krishna Naik is from Palyam thanda village in Pamidi mandal of Anantapur district. Just as he entered school, RDT (Rural Development Trust), an organization working since 1969, for the development of the poor in Anantapur district, sponsored him for school education. Chinni Krishna grew up admiring and adoring Father Vincent Ferrer, who founded RDT.  His mother passed away when he was only 8. He and his brother Sunil Kumar then went to an orphanage at Kondapalli in Krishna district. But Chinni Krishna soon returned to Anantapur district and did his secondary education at Bukkarayasamudram. He was an all rounder who not only studied well but also excelled in cultural activities and sports. Before he could complete class X, he won as many as 20 medals in sports. Chinni Krishna was interested also in adventure sports like body building and Karate.

At present he is in 2nd year of B.P.Ed. in Sri Venkateswara University. It is here that he was selected for a mountaineering mission to Kashmir, Mount Everest in the Himalayas and Mount Killimanjaro in South Africa. The first mission was to Mount Baisaran in Kashmir. He successfully climbed this Mount. Then came his inspiring act of exhibiting Father Vincent Ferrer’s picture on the Mount. The following are his words of homage to his childhood hero:

“Father! You are eternal. Your image is alive in our heart. Your every foot step is for us to follow. You gave light to many children like me. Long live Father Ferrer.”

Chinni Krishna Naik has just been felicitated by the Sports Authority of India in Vijayawada.  His next missions are the Mounts of Everest and Killimanjaro. He is determined to exhibit Father Vincent Ferrer’s picture there too.

Robert Burns Humanitarian Award names Anna Ferrer as finalist

Ananthapuram, 23 January 2018. Anna Ferrer, cofounder and executive director of the Rural Development Trust (RDT), is one of the three finalists for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

This globally respected honour is awarded to a group or individual who have shown commitment to saving, enriching or improving the lives of others. Mrs. Ferrer was nominated in recognition of her outstanding leadership in rural areas of South India.

Mason Kidd, a young boy working to honour the memory of his brother, and Sandra Brown, a campaigner who has championed support for victims of sexual abuse, are running alongside Anne Ferrer for this year’s award. The winner will be announced tomorrow 24 February 2018 in a ceremony that will take place at the poet’s birthplace in Ayr, Scotland. Dr. Rajaratnam Koppada and Shoba Kodappa, chairman and trustees of Friends of RDT —a UK registered charity—, will attend the ceremony on behalf of Anna Ferrer, who is unable to travel at this time of the year.

“I am beyond grateful and humbled by this nomination. I feel incredibly honoured to be recognised among the other amazing humanitarians. The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is incredibly inspiring opportunity in my home country. I could not be more proud to be a part of its legacy and thankful to my team for their unyielding support to empower rural communities in India.” stated Mrs. Ferrer, born in Essex (England) and now an Indian citizen.

“Over the last 50 years since Vicente Ferrer and I established Vicente Ferrer Foundation- Rural Development Trust, we have worked very hard to alleviate poverty, strengthening communities so they can stand on their own feet. We believe that each community member has the power to lift themselves up and sustain communities for generations to come.” added Mrs. Ferrer.

About the award

Named in honour of Scotland’s son Robert Burns, this much sought after humanitarian award applauds the efforts of people who bring hope and inspiration, often in desperate situations, and help change lives for the better.

The RBHA is a celebration of Burns Night and is part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – a programme of events funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland.

About RDT

RDT is a non-governmental organisation committed to the progress of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in Southern India. Since its inception in 1969, the organisation has endeavoured to improve the quality of life of the rural poor, with a particular emphasis on women, children and people with disabilities. It has progressively implemented comprehensive development programmes involving all areas of development.

76 Indian, Spanish athletes to run for rural development in India’s only relay ultramarathon

A group of 76 runners (24 Indians and 52 Spanish) will participate in the third edition of the Anantapur International Relay Ultramarathon, the only relay ultramarathon in India. The objective is to raise funds to build 36 houses for poor families, water tanks, roads and electrification in the village of Yerragunta (Parigi mandal), from where the race will start on 23 January.

The athletes will follow a 170km long route through villages covered under the Rural Development Trust (RDT) integral development programme. The track will pass through Kollakunta, Mavaturu, Penukonda, Gondipalli, Kona, Chinnampeta, Kalikivandlapalli, Mamillapalli, M Bandamedapalli, Bukkacherla, Kakkalapalle, RDT High School for the Hearing Impaired in Bukkaraya Samudram, RDT main office in Anantapur, Kandukuru, Zangalapalle, Chintalapalli Temple and will finish at RDT Hospital in Bathalapalli.

Organised in groups of four, each person will run 40km in relays of 10. Once runners pass on the baton to their team members, they will be able to rest at their assigned transition point.

The initiative, supported by RDT, was originally launched by Spanish ultramarathon runner Juan Manuel Viera, who ran 150km solo in 2016. His enthusiasm motivated more than 40 athletes to run along with him in its second edition in 2017. This year, the event will also count with the participation of 10 local women as well as differently abled athletes.

The ultramarathon will be preceded by the Community Running Day, which will take place at the Anantapur Sports Village on 21 January and is open to the general public. More than 100 girls and boys enrolled in RDT schools and projects will also take part in it.

RDT shocked by the tragic traffic accident that ended the life of four Spanish sponsors

From 1st to 6th August a group of thirteen donors and friends visited the Rural Development Trust (RDT) from Spain to witness the impact of the organization’s projects in Anantapur. After having an opportunity to meet the communities that they supported, the group was en route to enjoy some of South India’s unique historical and cultural highlights.

At four o’clock on Saturday, August 5th, the group left RDT’s facilities in a hired minibus to explore Pondicherry. At ten o’clock in the morning the minibus collided with a container truck in Madanapalle village in Chitoor district. Dr. Shoba, a resident of the nearby community and a long time friend of RDT, was among the first responders to the scene. She provided immediate assistance to the injured and contacted RDT staff. Upon news of the crash, a team of four doctors from RDT’s healthcare facilities were dispatched to provide assistance at the Colombia Asia Hospital in Bangalore. In addition to the medical team, RDT dispatched ambulances to transfer the deceased.

The Indian authorities responded quickly and the local police have begun an investigation. The Spanish Consul General in Mumbai travelled to Bangalore and continues to offer an outpouring of support.

Ángel Domínguez, Concepción Márquez, Immaculada Santiago, Rocío Chacón, María Dolores Bernal and Mari Paz González all suffered minor injuries and are now reunited with their families in Spain. Three individuals remain in India receiving care. One is in critical condition in the intensive care unit, another is now in observation, and the third is now preparing to return home.

Anne Ferrer, the Executive Director of RDT stated, “Our collaborators are part of the RDT family. We are doing everything in our hands to support and accompany the group in this difficult time. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones”.

All of us at RDT mourn the loss of Josefa Morán, Nieves López, Vicente Pérez, Francisco Pedrosa, and Sadiq Ali. RDT will continue to accompany the families of the victims and the survivors in this difficult time. Their commitment with Anantapur’s rural communities lives on in our hearts and in our projects.

  • 1
  • 2