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Our Founders

Fought relentlessly amidst various obstacles and opposition

Vicente Ferrer and Anna Ferrer met during a press interview in 1968. Bound by a shared commitment to fight for and to help the underprivileged people, they settled in Ananthapur and started Rural Development Trust (RDT) in 1969. Since then, they have been steadfast in their efforts to build a fairer and more just society for poor people.

VICENTE FERRER
(Barcelona, Spain, April 9, 1920 – Anantapur, India, June 19, 2009).
As a young man, he joined the Society of Jesus in the hopes of fulfilling his greatest desire and vocation: helping others.
In 1952, he left for Mumbai as a Jesuit missionary to complete his spiritual training, and came face to face with India for the first time. From then on, he devoted his life to ending the suffering of the country’spoorest.

Unfortunately, his helpful nature and commitment to work for others selflessly raised suspicion among certain people. They viewed him as a threat to their interests and secured an order to deport him from the country. As a result, over 30,000 farmers, backed by intellectuals and India’s political and religious elite, organised a 250 km march from Manmad to Mumbai in protest of the deportation order.

In an interview with Vicente Ferrer, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, recognised his work and pledged to find a solution. As a guarantee, she sent a telegram: “Father Vicente Ferrer will go abroad for a short holiday and will be welcome again in India.”

In 1968, Vicente left India for Spain. Three months later, thanks to the personal interest of Indira Gandhi, he was issued a new visa and he settled in Ananthapur (Andhra Pradesh). Upon arriving in this arid region, one of the country’s poorest, he resumed his fight and vocation to help the most disadvantaged people. He left the Society of Jesus in 1970 and, alongside Anne Perry, his soon to be wife, created Rural Development Trust (RDT).

ANNA FERRER
(Essex, England, 1947).

Her adventurous temperament inspired her to undertake a long journey from her native England to India, where she decided to stay and complete her studies.

In early 1965, she started working as a reporter for the news magazine Current and three years later met Vicente Ferrer during an interview. From then on, Anna, alongside Vicente, whom she married in 1970, found a reason to fight that prompted her to quit her job as a journalist

and start a new life in Anantapur District. Smart, capable, and extremely aware of the situation facing women in India, Anna has been and still is one of the cornerstones of RDT and has become a resounding voice in the struggle to ensure equal rights for Dalit women.

Anna Ferrer is currently President of RDT-Vicente Ferrer Spain and Executive Director of RDT India. She is responsible for setting the organisation’s strategy and coordinating the management team that oversees the organisation’s numerous projects.

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