The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Stories From India
Ramachandra works as an office assistant today, because of the generous support of a VFF donor who sponsored him 31 years ago. He was introduced to his sponsor with a simple letter and it changed his life.  Our Indian office interviewed him to share his success story. When he arrived he was surprised  that his personal journey was "newsworthy".  He sat down with a smile ready to share his past and his future. As a boy, his mother worked anywhere she could mostly cleaning. Once Ramachandra was sponsored it changed his life, and was the first time he was able to go to school. His first year at school was difficult, as the oldest student in his class he struggled, and was held back both in first grade and in third…
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Bathalapalli Hospital Launches New Digital Radiology

Bathalapalli Hospital Launches New Digital Radiology

Stories From India
  Providing healthcare services in rural India is ripe with challenges. Statistics reveal a gaping urban-rural divide in health-care access.  Resources are concentrated in urban areas. "About 88% of towns have a health-care facility, compared with 24% in rural areas—90% of which are manned by sole practitioners. Only 20% of the country’s total hospital beds are in rural areas, serving 70% of the population. A person in a village needs to travel more than 2km to reach the first health post to get a paracetamol tablet, more than 6km for a blood test and nearly 20km for hospital care. Access to radiology is necessary for quality care." (GE, 2017) On Monday January 29th VFF launched a new digital radiology center at Bathalapalli Hospital. This new technology reduces patient wait time…
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Alternative Energy: Bio-Gas for Rural Homes

Alternative Energy: Bio-Gas for Rural Homes

Stories From India
"First thing in the morning I clean the stable. Adding manure to the Bio-Gas plant with about 50 liters of water is quick morning task that means I can cook for my family all day, " says Venkatalakshmi, owner of one of the 4,697 biogas plants installed by VFF in India since the beginning of the project. Venkatalakshmi's routine is one of many ways rural communities are fighting against climate change and eliminating the need to cut fire wood . "The Bio-Gas project prevents deforestation, improves the health of women, and helps rural families improve their livihoods" explains Nageswara Reedy, Director of Sustainable Agriculture. Desertification, water scarcity and the disappearance of forest plants are constant challenges for rural families throughout Andhra Pradesh, the second driest state of India. Families with 4…
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Ultramarathon to Support Villages in Rural India

Ultramarathon to Support Villages in Rural India

News, Stories From India
A group of 76 runners 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 systems, and other needed infrastructure supports for the village of Yerragunta where the race begins on January 23rd. The athletes will follow a 170K long route through villages that partner with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA).  The journey will giver runners a unique perspective at rural development challenges.  Organized in groups of four, each person will run 40 kilometres 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 was originally launched by Spanish…
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The Key for Surviving Cervical Cancer is Early Detection

The Key for Surviving Cervical Cancer is Early Detection

Stories From India
Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in India in women between ages 15 and 44. Around 122,800 new cases are diagnosed annually in the country, according to a recent report from the Catalan Institute of Oncology about the human papillomavirus (HPV). VFF treats more than 20 new patients a month with cervical cancer. Exposure to HPV is a leading risk factor. For rural women with irregular healthcare diagnoses is difficult as symptoms for HPV often go undiscovered for years. VFF has seen more than 1,600 advanced cases. Women experiencing back pain, fatigue, pelvic pain, bone pain, and other symptoms have been able to have minor surgery to remove HPV cysts which are among the best ways to prevent loss of life. “Every day I bled a…
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Therapy for Families

Therapy for Families

Stories From India
"In 1987 I read an article about a center of people with cerebral palsy in my hometown and I was immediately motivated to sign up as a volunteer. Many years later, I am still here doing this important work.” Zulekha Lawla Islam, who works at the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) is the director of a residential and rehabilitative program to help people with disabilities in Anantapur.  She spent 27 years specializing her work in Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Vietnam. Have you seen any commonalities between people with disabilities in different countries? In some countries people with disabilities are recognized in official government programs as well as social movements, but despite advances people with disabilities still face many barriers. A report by the World Health Organization 2011 indicates that 80% of…
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Fighting Against Tuberculosis

Fighting Against Tuberculosis

Stories From India
The 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report, published this month by the World Health Organization (WHO), demonstrates that tuberculosis (TB) is a global crisis.  Although TB related deaths have been reduced by 22% more than 10 million new TB patients have been diagnosed around the world.  The United Nations states that “the tuberculosis epidemic is greater than previously estimated, a reflection of the data provided by the surveys conducted in India and their new policy of monitoring.” India is part of a group of 6 countries that registered 60% of the new patients.  Together with China and Russia, these countries account for 45% of the cases of multi drug resistant TB. According to Dr. Gerardo Álvarez-Uría of VFF, director of the Hospital of Infectious Diseases of Bathalapali, the international reports of tuberculosis deaths…
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Volunteer Speech Therapist Bring More Than Talent

Volunteer Speech Therapist Bring More Than Talent

Stories From India
In 2015, VFF launched a speech therapy project for children born with hearing impairment to develop oral language skills. The speech therapist, Marina Escarda, is a volunteer for the project. She brings affection and laughter in the therapy sessions. With the help of volunteers and speech therapists like Marina Escarda, VFF USA is helping hearing impaired girls in rural India develop their speaking abilities What are the difficulties encountered by deaf people in rural India? In India people with hearing impairment become are isolated from the community. In my work every day, I see how people who work with me even limit their interactions to sign language or pointing only.  For the deaf students, lip reading, sounds, and other “verbal” clues are important tools to understanding.  Deaf students can make…
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Newborn Health, Healthy Development

Newborn Health, Healthy Development

Stories From India
  A staggering 16 Million girls between the ages of 15-19 give birth every year worldwide. The lack of sex education strongly contributes to the rate of early pregnancies, as well as the lack of prenatal and postnatal education. As a result, India currently accounts for the highest number of newborn and child deaths in the world. VFF USA is working to lower infant mortality with sex education for youth, as well as prenatal and postnatal education and care. One of the most successful methods has been educational workshop for teens and mothers, where they are invited to openly talk about sexual health and reproduction. Rumni, a Health Coordinator in the Narapala area, shares with us the challenges they are overcoming by starting the  conversation. “The knowledge base about sexual…
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Tennis Lessons in Anantapur

Tennis Lessons in Anantapur

Stories From India
Anantapur is a regional capital and a hub for rural villages. The city has a population of more than 200,000 people; although on any given day the markets, schools, and activity centers fill with thousands of people from nearby villages accessing opportunities.   Anantapur as a “city” has a mixed population of migrant workers, rural farmers, and urban businesses. Discrimination among socioeconomic groups is one of the city’s most paramount challenges. Rooting out systemic prejudice against low income groups is essential for community development. The Rafa Nadal Tennis Center is committed to breaking down centuries of intolerance and inequality  by bringing kids from all over the city together, to play tennis, and develop their  English skills.   Xisco Mercadal, a professional tennis instructor who runs the programs said,  “Children do…
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