I arrived at Vincente Ferrer Foundation’s (VFF) regional office in Southern India called, Rural Development Trust (RDT) yesterday. As shared in previous posts, VFF is committed to improving the livelihoods of the marginalized, including people with disabilities. I had the opportunity to meet some of the fabulous staff and the great work they are doing here.
Yesterday I visited an inclusive boarding primary school and high school and the sports they get to participate in (cricket, judo 🥋 and so much more). The RDT schools take in people who are orphans, blind/deaf, albinos, and people in wheelchairs who have various levels of mobility impairments. These students not only go to school here, but they also live here. Many of these students are from rural villages and it would take them several hours if not days to travel back home each time.
I met one kid whose parents abandoned him because they were both HIV positive. He is an orphan and like several of his classmates, he is also on the list to be adopted. Many of the able-body children you see are most likely orphans.
Despite taking a red-eye flight, driving several hours to the RDT campus, and functioning on very few hours of sleep, I was energized by by the students joy and eagerness. Some of the older children really wanted me to see their judo skills and even did some demonstrations for me. It was such a special moment for me and for the children.
Since this organization was founded by some Spanish people, many people on staff and those who travel here to volunteer are also Spanish. I encourage my friends from elsewhere in the world to travel here and see the amazing work RDT is doing as well. Perhaps you will even be inspired to be a volunteer here! It’s only been one day and the cause and the children have stolen my heart.
Additional perks include a great living space with a cute apartment on the RDT campus. You are living right next to your fellow volunteers and some of the amazing staff local RDT staff. AND did I mention there is a delicious buffet selection for every meal?! I highly encourage you to come to volunteer/work for RDT if education and sports is your jam. They also do a lot more other programs, so please go to https://www.vffusa.org/our-work/our-programs/ to learn more. I hope to see you in the beautiful land of Anantapur soon and meet the warm, friendly, loving and cute faces of these glowing souls.