Vicente (1920-2009) and Anna Ferrer (1947) founded Rural Development Trust, better known as RDT, had its headquarters in Anantapur, in the Rayalaseema Region of Andhra Pradesh. It is a non-governmental organization registered under the Indian Registration Act of 1908.
Located in one of the driest regions in India, Andhra Pradesh barely supported its inhabitants. For the rural poor, just getting basic nutrition was a daily struggle. They also endured extreme discrimination in a society deeply divided along caste, tribal, and gender lines.
The organization’s main concern was helping the district’s poorest families find work and gain access to food. The founders paid special attention to the most marginalized communities, including the so-called “untouchables”; people with disabilities, and women and girls. This focus on the severely underprivileged continues to this day.
Since its inception, VFF has embraced a whole-village approach emphasizing self-sufficiency. At the heart of the organization’s mission is to empower the people to build up their own communities, to break down centuries of ingrained discrimination, and to take charge of their own lives. VFF merely serves to identify and remove the barriers to progress. We consider the people of India to be the main players in the process of their own improvement — India for India. As Father Ferrer put it in his pithy way: “Action is a flame that never goes out.” The story of VFF is the story of action over words.
To achieve our mission of eradicating extreme poverty and suffering, VFF dedicates itself to holistic development. We believe in being accountable for every dollar raised and spent. This means we aim to create highly effective, sustainable programs that not only tackle the symptoms of poverty such poor nutrition and disease, but also improve the underlying factors, including education, women’s empowerment, the environment, cultural development, community health, and recreation.
1969 – 1970
Father Vicente Ferrer and Sister Anne Ferrer founded Rural Development Trust
1970 – 1975
Implemented Food-for-Work Programme with funding from CASA
Started Community Organisation, Health and Land Development programmes
sponsorship programme with Action Aid; began Education and Cultural programmes
Launched Women sector
Collaborated with Aide et Accion (AeA); sponsorship programme
Constituted Women’s core team; origin of CBR institutions
Launched Fundacion Vicente Ferrer (FVF) in Spain
Inaugurated Sports Village and upgraded sports programmes
Set up base in Srisailam Region to work with Chenchu Tribes
Launched the Resource Mobilisation Centre in Mumbai and initiated Hundis as part of ‘INDIA for India’
Reinitiated strategic planning