Home > 50th Anniversary

Dignity. Change. Equality

Celebrating 50 years of RDT.
Part of the Anantapur landscape, one with the community.


Dignity. Change. Equality

Celebrating 50 years of RDT.
Part of the Anantapur landscape, one with the community.

Our Story

Vicente Ferrer lands in Mumbai, India for the first time and dedicates himself to the development and progress of the poor farmers of Manmad, Maharashtra

Vicente Ferrer, the journalist Anne Perry and two other local volunteers arrive in Anantapur. They start to work in the chronic drought prone area through the newly founded organization, RDT.

Food-For-Work programme is implemented. Over the next five years, 10,000 wells are dug, 2,500 hourses and 50 nutrition centres built in the villages, and a leprosy centre started.

The integrated development programme is launched in more than 200 villages in Kalyandurg area along with land development programmes that helped labourers to become farmers. The Community Health Sector and the first community-based organisations are established.

Small rural hospitals are started in Kalyandurg, Kuderu and Venkatampalli to provide basic health assistance to the needy.

The Education Sector is founded with the goal to ensure the enrollment of children from poor communities. At that time, 90% of them were not even attending primary school.

RDT encourages cultural and sports events in order to foster integration and promote equality among the children and youth in Anantapur district.

For the first, time RDT starts to work directly with women through self-help groups. Women pool their small monthly savings to increase their collective strength and economic independence.

RDT starts focusing on the importance and value of education by motivating the parents to retain their children in school up to 10th class.

RDT partners with the Government and UNICEF for the first universal immunisation programme in the country.

During immunisation, RDT becomes aware of the thousands of persons with disabilities living without access to rehabilitation and a dignified life. The Community-Based Rehabilitation Sector is established for their empowerment and progress and first self-help groups are formed.

After three years of successive droughts, the Ecology Sector is constituted to work towards a sustainable environment and agriculture. In the following years, it worked systematically for soil and water conservation, afforestation and introduction of horticulture.

First special schools for children with different abilities are started in the rural areas so that all children have access to rehabilitation and formal education.

The first of four orthopedic and prosthetic workshop is opened in Kalyandurg to improve the life of persons with physical disabilities.

Started awareness campaigns on HIV in villages to explain this new virus, how it is transmitted and how it can be prevented.

Fundacion Vicente Ferrer (FVF) in Spain is launched to directly support and give sustainability to RDT projects.

Started Community Habitat sector to support the government’s effort to move people out of huts and facilitate them to have safe and secure housing.

RDT’s health programmes further help to bring quality healthcare to rural areas by opening two secondary-level care hospitals in Bathalapalli (2000) and Kalyandurg (2006), a primary healthcare center in Kanekal (2004).

First handicrafts workshop for women with disabilities is established in Udegolem. It provides them with professional skills to be independent and recognized members of their family and community. The products are sold locally and in Spain. After few years, four more workshops are opened.

RDT uses its 30 years of experience in development to help the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the Gujarat earthquake.

Increasing the focus and importance of sports in development by establishing the Anantapur Sports Village.

RDT participates in the emergency, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts after the tsunami in Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

To assist farmers and implement sustainable agricultural methods, micro-irrigation methods are implemented along with solar panels to support it.

A Hospital for Infectious Diseases (HIV and TB) is inaugurated. It soon becomes well-known throughout the state for its quality and empathetic care.

RDT's founder, Vicente Ferrer, passes away. More than 100,000 people from all across the Anantapur district, India and Spain attend his funeral.

In coordination with the Government and other organisations, a specific programme to eradicate violence against women and a shelter home for women are started.

RDT starts working with chenchus, a tribal community in Srisailam to strengthen their individual and collective capacity, protect their cultural heritage, access resources and services under the provision of law.

For the first time, youth with intellectual disabilities hailing from Anantapur travel abroad to represent India in the Special Olympics.

The first Professional School for young rural graduates is launched. More than 90% of its students, both boys and girls, find employment after completing the course.

The India For India programme is initiated, a unique initiative in which the poor, despite their own difficult circumstances, donate part of their savings for a common cause. RDT also starts partnering with Indian companies for different social projects.

Started collaborating with the AP Government for the Swachh Bharat Mission, by constructing bathroom-cum-toilets.

Launched the Vicente Ferrer Foundation in Washington to support and to expand the work of RDT.

Provided flood assistance in Chennai and Nellore.

FoRDT is registered as a charity in UK to support RDT’s programmes.

RDT celebrates its 50th anniversary.




I knew Vicente Ferrer since I was 10 years old and followed him from Manmad to Anantapur because I believed in his vision. From food and basic health being the priority in the late 60s to now having integrated programmes in all areas of development, we have transformed along with the people.

Department of Maintenance, RDT

20 years ago we were called not by our names but our disabilities. We were considered to be a burden and a shame to the community. But in the sanghams, we support each other and know to assert our rights. Above all, we have our own identity.

Leader of a Vikalangula Sangham, Ankampalli

We have learnt with our hearts and minds, and by doing, that it is possible to break the cycle of poverty, to come out of it. It is a time of celebration. It is a time of joy. But is also a time of rededication to hard work

Executive Director, RDT

As a child my parents refused to send me to school because to them girls were to be married and sent away. My brother’s constant support and assistance from RDT made it possible for me to be the first woman with a university degree in my region.

Librarian of Public Library, Anantapur

My parents arrived in Anantapur in 1969 with a vision. They believed that together, with the people, they could help bring a change in the lives of the poor by providing them with the tools and resources to make a sovereign, dignified life for themselves

Director of Programmes, RDT

I joined the organisation at its early stage and have watched it grow exponentially. Our credibility is a result of the compassion with which we have been carrying out our work. We are here because of what we have learned over the years.

Director of Childine, RDT

Igniting change for social justice.

We strive to ensure healthy lives, even in the most remote villages.