Spanish honour for Anantpur-based NGO

Rural Development Trust was recently felicitated for outstanding work in Andhra Pradesh for the past 45 years

Souzeina S Mushtaq Delhi 

It was a moment for rightful recognition for Anna Ferrer, when her organization ‘Rural Development Trust’ was awarded the “Knight Commander of the Order of the Civil Merit” for its extraordinary services.

The organization, which was started by Ferrer’s husband Vicente Ferrer, in 1969, focuses on education, health, women, disabilities, and environment in Anantpur district in Andhra Pradesh. 

Ferrer, whose husband died in 2009, said she was privileged to receive the award, having been proud of her husband’s work all his life. “He convinced us that eradication of poverty was possible with concrete action, hard work and commitment,” she said, after picking up the award from the Ambassador of Spain to India, Gustavo de Arístegui, at a small gathering at the Embassy of Spain in New Delhi. She said she has seen the miracle with her own eyes in the past 45 years. 

The Ambassador in his speech praised the organization for its exemplary work. “It is a special moment for us to bestow this honour upon the organization,” he said. The Ambassador said RDT was quite well-known in his country, calling it the “best of the best in Spain”. He said the award was a token of respect and admiration for Ferrer and her organization. 

Around 45 years ago, Ferrer began her journey after marrying Vicente Ferrer in 1970, who at the time was working in Anantpur. “India has been my home for the last 50 years,” she told the gathering. “I was 21 when I came here and now I am 67 years old,” she said. When asked how she feels, Anna said she is “happy and satisfied.” 

She said her husband believed in the goodness of everybody. “He helped change the lives of people in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.” A Spanish national, Vicente came to India in 1952 on a spiritual journey. After spending some time in India doing social work, the locals got suspicious and he was deported in 1968. It was only after three and a half months that then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi invited him to come back to Anantpur and resume his social services. Since then, the trust has been working effectively among various communities.