Thummalabailu Chenchu gudem is 25 kilometers away from Dornala. It is in Prakasam district. Village population is 415. RDT conducted Large Scale Interaction Program (LSIP) for community leaders from all villages of Dornala area, to provide awareness on various government programs for the Chenchus. This program also provided interaction with the government officers of all departments relevant to the Chenchu people. Inspired by this program, Thummalabailu Chenchu leaders submitted a memorandum on all their needs to the government officers. The first one was about drinking water as the available cistern does not store sufficient water required for all the families. RDT supplied drinking water with 125 tankers for 45 days. But that was only for summer. The government responded and drilled 6 bore-wells of which 3 were successful. The government fixed 3 submersible motors with 3 hand pumps. With this, their drinking water problem was solved. Then the community leaders also succeeded in getting 98 bathrooms cum toilets sanctioned to their village. A teacher was appointed in the tribal residential school in their village. 10 families received 10 pairs of bullocks for cultivation. The community leaders are continuing their interaction with various government officers to get more resources mobilized to their Chenchu gudem.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.