2019 marks the 50th anniversary since Vicente Ferrer and wife Anna founded the Rural Development Trust (RDT), a non-governmental organization committed to the progress of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in Southern India.
Since its inception, the organization has endeavoured to improve the quality of life of the rural poor, mainly low caste, with a particular emphasis on women, children and people with disabilities.
Today RDT conducts projects designed to ensure access to quality education, primary and hospital health care, housing and basic services; to support the empowerment of women, people with disabilities and tribal communities.
Two grandmothers bathe their grandchildren at the old Family Planning Center of the RDT. The bath of newborns is a tradition in Andhra Pradesh that is performed twice a day to decontract the fetal position and offer a good rest to babies.
Grandmothers bathe their grandchildren at the old Family Planning Center of the RDT. The bath of newborns is a tradition in Andhra Pradesh that is performed twice a day to decontract the fetal position and offer a good rest to babies.
The Family Planning Center was created in 1988 and reformed in 2003, so that Indian mothers with more than two children who wish may voluntarily cease their reproductive life.
In Anantapur, in the centers of the RDT, blind children learn the use of new technologies. Not infrequently they go to the forefront. In Hyderabad or in Bangalore, a reference city of computer innovation in India, the passage through these schools is appreciated in the professional record.
A teacher and her students at the Edula Mustur school. Each week, community health workers distribute eggs and ragi (nutritious cereal) for children under four years of age, pregnant women and people included in HIV or tuberculosis programs. It is a nutritional support offered by the FVF for more than 10 years to prevent diseases, particularly in the case of childhood.
Primary school in Bestharapalli (Andra Pradesh).
A nurse at the Kalyandurg hospital poses with a newborn child. According to data provided by the RDT, in India 46% of girls and boys under three are too young for their age and 47% have a low birth weight, especially girls.
Infants admitted to the neonatal ICU are almost always premature, weighing less than 1,500 grams or in need of respiratory support.
The Kalyandurg hospital is the second in importance after the pediatric hospital of Bathalapalli, also a project by RDT.
Sivaratna was 19 years old at the moment this picture was taken. `When I got infected, I was twelve, I was a girl. I never imagined what was going to happen to us in these five years. My father infected my mother and my little brother and I were also infected by the virus. My husband Surehbabu had been infected at twenty-six. I was afraid of getting pregnant… but I git pregnant. But the doctors at the Bathalapalli hospital gave me confidence. The treatment of antivirals had an effect. The girl was born without HIV.´.
Gulab is blind from birth. Much of her face is affected by a large tumor. A few years ago blind girls like Gulab had no future. Education was unviable in castes and marginalized places. With Gulab there was an added condition. A rejection for his physical appearance.
She studied at RDT’s school, which opened the first centers with an advanced pedagogy for different disabilities. The next step was to go, with a scholarship, to a high-quality educational institute in Hyderabad, center of technological innovation.
Gulab met all the conditions and more. What he never imagined is that he would be rejected for his appearance but finally, again with RDT´s help, she was admited.
When Lathamma was pregnant the mother said: “Do not go to work because there is an eclipse and that can be bad for the child.”
She gave birth to a girl that had a cleft lip.
People who came to visit saw her in the hospital said: “A demon is born!”
While going to the town with her family in a rickshaw, at fifteen kilometers, the driver stopped in a forest. Lathamma was convinced to give them the girl. “Do not worry,” they told me, “we’re not going to do anything to you. Do not Cry. It is better to leave her because maybe she is a demon. In the village, the neighbors will make your life impossible”.
They had left her buried up to her neck, next to a tree. Shepherds found her. They called a government ambulance and from the hospital they called a social worker from RDT. The baby spent three months in hospital until she recovered.
In that time, they talked a lot with Lathamma. Her vision was changing. The doctors operated the baby that was completly accepted by the family.
Sindu -that´s the girl´s name- was three years old at the moment the picture was taken.
In the picture a `Sangam´ (women meetings) at Korrapadu´s school.
The thought of RDT is that women are the shapers of the community’s future.
RDT’s projects works towards particular targets: Improving the socioeconomic status of women, promoting the access of women and girls to education, ensuring women’s access to professional and vocational training to create employment opportunities, combating violence towards women and publicizing the role of women as agents of change and social transformation.