Blind People’s Association, India

Focusing on the abilities, rather than the disabilities, of the disabled/blind

The BPA began in 1954 in Ahmedabad as the Blind Men’s Association (BMA), a recreation club for the blind started with the efforts of a few blind persons. Over the past five decades, it has emerged as an internationally renowned voluntary organization for the blind and people with other disabilities. The organization works to rehabilitate the disabled/blind irrespective of their class and background. Around 80 percent of their beneficiaries are from socially and economically disadvantaged classes!

The organization also focuses on abilities, rather than disabilities, of the disabled/blind, thus helping them to become “differently abled” individuals.

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How it all began

The BPA was set up by Mr. Jagdish K Patel or Jagdishbhai as he was more popularly known. In 1936, when he was just eight years old, he lost his eyesight due to a bought of Meningitis that hit West Bengal, where he used to live with his parents. Meningitis paralysed his optic nerve, leading to full and irreversible blindness. After two years of his family praying for his eyesight to be restored, they enrolled him into the Calcutta Blind School, in 1938. A few years later, he joined the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind in Bombay, where he later on opted for a course in Physiotherapy. It was in 1947 that he became a qualified physiotherapist. In 1954, he set up the BPA to help others like him. In 1979, Mr. Bhushan Punani came on board and till date is managing the reigns of the organization.

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A glimpse into the lives changed

Read the stories of Mansukh and Ramesh.

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Volunteering Opportunities

Over the years, BPA has hosted several volunteers from both India and abroad. Depending on a volunteers’ skills and time availability, an appropriate task is given. In the past volunteers have contributed in numerous ways – from helping with research work to proof-reading the annual report to teaching computers to the visually-impaired. Send a copy of your resume along with details of your time availability to and they’ll be happy to work out an opportunity for you.

Recognition Received

National Award for Outstanding Performance in the field of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, 2008

Godfrey Philips Silver Bravery Award, 2007

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