Palma de Majorca.—Anna Ferrer, the British widow of the Majorcan charity worker Vicente Ferrer, yesterday thanked the Balearic government for the support they had given to her late husband's pioneering work with the poor in India, and asked that they continue with funding, even in “these difficult times”.

Ferrer who is now the President of the Vicente Ferrer Association was speaking during a meeting with Balearic President José Ramón Bauzá. The President says he “was happy in principle” to continue providing support to the association.

Jordi Folgado Ferrer (the nephew of Vicente Ferrer) said that his uncle's Foundation, of which he is Director, owes a great deal to the Balearic government in its mission to eradicate widespread poverty. He said on a broad scale, that the economic crisis will undoubtedly affect the funds reaching the Foundation but he was confident that the degree of loyalty of its associates is “very high.” “In recent times,” said Folgado, “we have made giant steps (in eradicating poverty).” When the association began in 1969, he explained, the levels of education in the Anantapur region in India were just 3 percent of girls, and 5 percent of boys, but now we are talking about 100 percent and 60 percent who are starting secondary school. The director said that “more than 100 towns have asked us that we go to help other villages because they are able to operate by themselves now.” One of the latest projects which the Foundation has introduced is a social stability fund - a bank deposit of 18'000 euros per town from which only the interest can be used. “It has enabled the communities to feel that they don't have to think of themselves as poor any longer” said Folgado. Meanwhile, the association continues to work for the rights of women in India.

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