Introduction

Rayalaseema Development Trust, popularly called RYDT, was founded by Vicente Ferrer (1920-2009) and Anne Ferrer in 1969 with Ananthapuramu district as its central headquarters. It primarily works for the integrated development of disadvantaged groups in the society.

The projects cover over 3000 villages comprising of 63 revenue mandals in Ananthapuramu and 11 mandals in the neighbouring district of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.  RYDT has been primarily focusing on three projects – Professional School, promoting cultural activities and sports.

The Professional School was started in 2012 with a view to enhance the employability of rural graduates. This is done mainly through improving their proficiency in English, computer training and soft skills as also teaching a foreign language which is either Spanish, French or German. This project has been running successfully with over 85% alumni from the school securing a job in major cities like Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad.

Cultural activities and sports have always been considered as an integral part of education of children and youth initiated by RYDT in 1978. Through the Arts and Culture sector, RYDT aims to hone the talents of children from rural Anantapur, encourage alternative livelihood opportunities, preserving and promoting the community folk art forms and increase awareness about crucial social issues.

The sports programme began in the 80s as a medium to  encourage extra-curricular activities and to retain children and youth in schools. In 2000, the organisation started sport for development programme through the Anantapur Sports Academy to increase the focus on sports in rural areas and to provide support to rural children and youth in the form of equipment, infrastructure and professional coaching.

Currently, ASA runs programs in the seven sporting disciplines of hockey, football, cricket, judo, softball, kho-kho, and kabaddi, through 90 centers across Anantapur district engaging around 11,000 children and youth, with 45% being girls.

Recently in August, RYDT’s sport for development programme was awarded with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India for promoting the culture of sports in rural India and using it as a tool to advance socio-economic empowerment and gender equality.