APD History

The Backdrop

In the year 1955, N.S. Hema, 17 year old at that time, affected by polio (at her young age), both in her legs and one arm, went to Bombay along with her father N.S. Ayyangar for medical intervention . During her stay of two years in Bombay she met with Fatima Ismail (mother of a polio affected daughter) who had started a rehabilitation centre for disabled in the name of Fellowship of the Physically Handicapped. She was very much impressed seeing the sheltered workshop where quite a number of people with disability were busily engaged in various work. The young mind dreamt of creating economic independence of the disabled by training and rehabilitation. She also met the Vice President of the Fellowship- Heramb Kher, also a person with disability..

On her return to Bangalore after two years, N.S. Ayyangar talked to N.D. Diwan, an ex-serviceman, a wheelchair user, staying at Red Cross Home whom they had met earlier, with Rev. I.L .Thomas (Principal of Bishop Cotton School), also a person using wheel chair and others to discuss the possibility of starting a Centre for helping the people with disability……

Please read on………………


On Oct 15th in response to the advertisement put in local paper by them, asking persons interested in such an activity to meet at Woodlands Hotel, a few persons showed interest by attending.

Early Social Gathering


On May 14th after a few meetings, the 24 members present on this day adopted the name of “Association of the Physically Handicapped” (APH) and elected 10 committee members and office bearers with I.L. Thomas as President , N.S. Ayyangar as Vice President, Lakshmi Menon as Secretary and N.D. Diwan as Treasurer.

On May 20th ‘Association of the Physically Handicapped’ was formally registered under the Mysore Societies Act. Subsequently planned to start a Training and Rehabilitation Centre.

On Sept 14th inauguration of the training centre took place at Sir Puttanchetty Town Hall by Sri Rachiah, Minister for Social Welfare.

A small place was taken on rent at Cambridge road for Rs.75/- per month, where training in tailoring was started. After a few months it was shifted to a house taken on rent(Rs. 40/- per month, where training in tailoring was started. After a few months it was shifted to a house taken on rent (Rs. 40/- per month) at Malleswaram.


The activity at Malleswaram was shifted to Hema's Garage where four youths started training in tailoring and embroidery. In all these places, the Programme did not take off as expected as there was not much to motivate the trainees, who found begging more lucrative.



Hema came up with the idea of doing subcontract work for big industries. Hema’s uncle, who was the M.D of Mysore Electrical Industries, was approached and small assembly works was started in the garage and subsequently became a busy operation.

On Nov 10th, V.T. Padmanabhan, an industrialist gifts 2 acres of land at Lingarajpuram to the Association. Meanwhile the work in the garage was in full swing.


On March 20th the foundation stone for the workshop was laid by Maharaja Shri. Jayachamarajendra Wodiyer, Governor of Mysore. OXFAM, UK donates for the borewell, building etc an amount of Rs.2, 47,500/- and the State Government gaves a grant of Rs. 34,000/-. Construction started.

The Maharaja,LAying the foundation stone

Hema cutting tape of for second block ( machine Shop)


On Feb 27th the ‘Grihapravesam’ of the new building took place, informally. Hema lit the lamp. Whoever imagined at that time when the lamp was lit by Hema, that it would give light to the lives of many tens of thousands of disabled in the years to come. Perhaps, Hema’s determination, perseverance and dedication to the cause blessed by Divine Grace brought APH through thick and thin in the years to come by. The operation was shifted from the garage to the new building. Indian Telephone Industries started giving work.


Number of trainees increased to 125. Other firms like BEL, ITC also started giving work. There were many wait listed, to join. HEKS and OXFAM gives Rs. 2,78,000/- for the machine shop. A new building of 5700 Sqft was taken up for construction.


HEKS and BREAD FOR THE WORLD of Germany donates Rs. 30 lakhs, a big gesture appreciating the progress and the conviction of the Organization


On the 25th June the new building was declared open by Shri.V.V.Giri, President of India.

Trainees in first workshop,Lingarajpuram



Start of unrest in the training Centre where about 390 persons undergoing training and around 1000 in the waiting list, started the strike which took an ugly turn.

On June 4th Shradhanjali Integrated School was started to provide education and all round development of children based on inclusive education. Among the 10 children who joined the school 8 were disabled.


With regret the training centre had to be closed down, APH did soul searching and realized that no forethought was given in implementing prudently.


As a part of reorganization, A Home Based Programme (HBP) started to help the displaced persons with disability to make a living. The jobs were brought from big factories, taken to the homes of the disabled persons, taught how to assemble them and after completion it was returned to the factories. The scheme was very successful and many persons were benefited.

Management decides to split the training activities into two: One formal Industrial Training Course based on NCVT syllabus (NTC) and bound by the duration of the trade selected, and the other an Advanced Training Course (ATC) where trainees would be given on the job Training in various machine operations. This is to be for a period of two years only.


Initial work on Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) started by conducting a survey in Kolar Gold Fields area during International Year of Disability.


Problems in ATC where about 78 persons taking training, started with strikes, unrest, and formed into a union, raising unreasonable demands, including the demand that the workshop (training Centre) be handed over to the Government. APH wrote a letter to Government to take over the workshop, but there was no response. APH had decided that if the Government does not take over, then the workshop would be closed, as it was a huge financial drain, with excess of expenditure mounting every year, and the production was poor due to low productivity. APH had to borrow heavily every month to pay the salaries, and other fixed expenses.
The very premise of APH to reach out more and more people with disability every year was not served, while the liability was increasing alarmingly.


Orthotic Appliances and Training Centre was started to manufacture mobility aids to every disabled person within reach. The children of the school benefited a lot. Also involved was training in orthotic appliances for trainees both from India and abroad.


Horticulture Training Centre started in Jeevan Bhimanagar land of nearly one acre given by BDA on lease.


The CBR which started earlier and preliminary work undertaken was expanded this year with aim of organizing and empowering communities by developing skills in community members, so as to sustain ongoing development on health, education, and livelihood.
About one area of land was given as gift at Chintamani, by Santu Ramaswamy Swamiji,“Ananda Ashram” as the place was called with basic infrastructure became the hub of CBR activity, in rural area particularly in Kolar Dist.
Urban Slum Outreach Programme (USOP) the effort taken by Hema in slums of Neelasandra and other nine slums years back, is the biggest and must ambitious programme undertaken by APH employing over one third of the staff and catering to about 1000 People with Disability. Started about 18years ago, with a small beginning became a huge project funded by ACTION AID and SCIAF


The problems at the ATC increased with the strike, and financial losses increased Borrowings from Banks became difficult as huge liabilities had been built up. The demand of the Union to hand over to the workshop to the Government did not materialise, as the Government did not respond to the written offer of APH Finally, in June Reghuraj the President of APH, addressed all the trainees in the workshop premises, and made an offer to hand over the workshop to the trainees if they are willing to run it themselves. But the offer was refused. Ultimately a VRS was announced and by July all the trainees had accepted the offer, and the workshop was closed down.
This was a sad time for APH as the programme started with such hope had to whittle down in this way. But the brighter side was the arrest of drain on our financial resources and more importantly there was renewed hope that we could concentrate on the real rehabilitation process and reach out to many people with disability who needed urgent help. Another satisfactory outcome was that most of the trainees got jobs in the main stream industries.


More importance was given to CBR through networking and education ZFS plays an important role as a Capacity Builder by developing the first strategic plan. The mission statement adopted was “To meet individual needs, to create awareness; to promote acceptance and integration; to instill self-confidence, and to encourage self-reliance, for the benefit of People with Disability”


Management decided to remove the “handicapped” from its name and decides to rename APH as ‘Association of People with Disability’ (APD)


5 acre land at Kyalasanahalli, Hennur Road was given on lease by Government for starting Horticulture Training Programme for the people with disability of various categories, on the line of the one at Jeevan Bhimanagar, which was running successfully.

Horticulture training


Release of ‘Challenging Disability” a book on journey of APD written by Ms. Jean Satterthwaite and ‘Urban Slums reach out” compiled by Ms. Shebha Raja. Click on the picture to buy it.
Launched Programme to support persons with Spinal cord injury (SCI)

Challenging Disability


APD launches its website. www.apd-india.org.
A Committee was formed to prepare a strategic plan for the future. The Committee’s recommendation of “3 year Vision of APD” was accepted by the Managing Committee on the 4th of Dec, and decided to implement the same from 2004. In these three years it was planned to reach out to about 10,000 disabled persons, by various programs, envisaged..


It was a major step in reorganization of APD with a view to expand its reach and enlarge its scope. As a result, APD expands its Programmes to other Districts of Karnataka.

Laying of foundation for construction of Horticultural Training Centre at Kyalasanahalli.

Collaborated with BASIC NEEDS-India to expand support to persons with mentally ill.


APD partners with IDCS- India to expand its reach and quality of services for Deaf persons in both Rural and Urban areas. APD partners with MOTIVATION-UK to launch quality wheelchair service provision in both urban and rural areas. First World Made Wheelchair fabricated in APD.


The three year strategic plan 2004-07 was reviewed and the Managing Committee felt satisfied by the efforts put in by staff in reaching 8200 persons with disability in the 1st strategic plan. It was Resolved that the 2nd strategic plan for the next 3 years, be adopted. APD took a decision to support other organization to give effect to the Resolution in reaching an additional 10,000 persons with disability in the next 3 years.

The Prestigious Kempegowda Award was given to APD. In a gala function held at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, by BBMP, Mr. M.N.V. Urs. President of APD was felicitated and the Award was presented


APD enters its 50th year on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary on 19th May a nice music party was arranged. All connected with the working of APD attended and enjoyed the melodious Veena Recital by Smt.Geeta Gopal and Friends. D.M. Naidu our Trustee and Hon. Associate Secretary in his speech rededicated to take APD to greater heights in serving the disabled.

A decision was taken to celebrate 2008-09 as our Golden Jubilee year. Various events to be conducted during the year were finalized and sub committees were formed to conduct the events.

4th October- A get- together at Kyalasanahalli Horticultural Center was arranged. An event attended by donors, well wishere, customers and others was conduxted with music and entertainment.

5th October- A Road Art show was condcted at low level Park Sadashivanagar, which was very much appriciated by the media and public. About 200 children with disability both from Urban and Rural areas participated. The event was sponsered by The Bank of Baroda.


March 19th and 20th - Regional Seminar was conducted at "Olde Bangalore" Devanahalli Road to commemorate Golden Jubilee Celebration Sponsered by VST Tillers Tractors Limited, the Seminar was attended by about 150 delegates who discussed about Inclusion, Mobility, Accessibility and Livelihood.