From a simple, sheltered workshop catering solely to job training, to a full-fledged center that offers a wide variety of empowering programmes, the APD has come a long way. A really, really long way. While this isn’t unusual for any organization that’s been around for close to half-a-century, what’s remarkable is that it has pulled itself through all its lows. And the APD has had an unusual share of lows – from premise-issues, to transport-issues, to disloyalty of staff, to union strikes, to near bankruptcy and more. But there seems to be no stopping this organization from providing for all needs for those with disabilities. It is no wonder then the APD has become a leader in the field of disability today and their center at Lingarajapuram has become a prominent landmark in the city of Bangalore.
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How it all began
The primary force behind the APD is undoubtedly Ms. N H Hema. With both legs and one arm significantly paralysed as a result of Polio in childhood, Hema herself was wheelchair-bound. But while she was mobile, it was not without difficulty. She recalls how obtaining a wheelchair itself was a grand task. Back in 1955, when she was just 17-years-old, her father, N S Ayyangar visited England, where he saw a three-wheeled scooter. However, every effort to find one in Bangalore, or have one made, met with disappointment. Even the Red Cross Home for paraplegics from the armed forces, which was already making tricycles for the army, could not find a way to make one for a civilian. On her visit to the Red Cross Home, one of the residents, N D Diwan, let her try out his tricycle. She found it so liberating that she went to the Home almost every day to repeat the experience. It became clear that one had to be obtained somehow. So, an uncle in England was pressed into service, and in 1955 a tricycle arrived from there, “Like a Rolls Royce in my life” is how Hema describes it now.
Data entry, soft skills, English communication skills, Accountancy training, conducting sports activities, cultural activities, teaching computers/Maths/English, designing posters, mentoring, conducting market surveys, photography and more. There are lots of volunteering opportunities available at the APD. WHat’s more, they’re always on the look out for the same. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll help make the most of your skills.
2011: Indian NGO award for the best NGO in the medium category in South India. The award process was supported by Rockfeller Foundation and facilitated by The Resource Alliance.
2011: Best NGO in the disability space in Karnataka, awarded by the State Government