SERVE’s work with APD

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An introduction: SERVE & India

Our vision at SERVE is to promote societal commitment towards equality, justice, and sustainable development. SERVE works in solidarity with partners based within different communities. With the expertise of our partners, we look at the root causes of social injustices to support existing or new programmes that help our partners empower the marginalised and vulnerable communities they work in. We help achieve this through our work in partnership with The Association of People with Disability (APD) situated across Bangalore, India. 

Your donation helps SERVE to continue support APD.

SERVE and APD have worked together for the past 16 years. Most recently we are currently supporting a programme called ‘Disability Awareness for School Children’ (DASC). The DASC programme helps tackle stigma against people with disability (PWD). The programme works with the general population, with the long-term aim of tackling stigma on disability and improving and understanding People with Disability (PWD). This is done by going to different schools or by having students come to the APD campus to complete the programme. The programme also supports students to complete audits in their schools to see how well their school is suited for PWD.

A regular donation to the SERVE will help sustain our ongoing work with APD. Set up a Standing Order here.

The APD campus

Other services available at the main APD campus in Bangalore:

Parents with their children at APD
  • A school for children living with mild to severe physical disability
  • A programme for children living with mild to severe learning disabilities
  • A vocational training unit – including IT, Physiotherapy, orthotics, sewing and career guidance
  • A treatment and training centre for patients with Spinal Cord Injuries – including disability management, training of family members & counselling
  • A large horticulture programme that employs people with disabilities

THE INCREDIBLE ORIGINS OF APD:

APD celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019. Through these years, APD has promoted innovation and positively impacted people living with disabilities in India.

To understand APD and how it all started, we must look into the life journey of Ms N.S Hema (1938-2016). Ms Hema was born on October 4th 1938, in Hasana District, Channaraya Pattana Taluk, Nuggehalli village in India. Diagnosed with polio at age 5, Ms Hema’s hands and feet were severely affected. Her parents’  sought medical help across Bangalore, Madras, Kerala & Bombay (present-day Bengaluru, Chennai & Mumbai, respectively). Ms Hema was fortunate to have mindful and understanding parents who didn’t adhere to the stigma mindset. Her parents gave her a private tutor to finish school. Also, as a child, Ms Hema was supported to enjoy hobbies like drawing, singing & playing music.

The roots of APD can be traced back to the meetings that Hema used to organise, where disabled people would share their experiences, talk about their hopes and problems and, more than anything else, enjoy their rare social outing. After eight months of meeting, despite the divergent aims among its members, the formal inauguration of APD took place in the form of a training centre on 14th September 1959. It is from this date APD traces its history. (Source www.giveindia.org/blog)

 

Ms Hema was also inspired to start APH to end the stigma against people with disabilities in India, that they are less than others and have no gender. Later in 1997, APH renamed The Association of People with Disability (APD).

In 1997, Karnataka State Government honoured Ms. Hema with a national welfare award called: “Karnataka Rajyotsava Prashasti Award”. 70 years later, SERVE stands in solidarity with Ms Hema and helps continue her life’s work with the incredible APD Team and community.

A regular donation to the SERVE will help sustain our ongoing work with APD. Set up a Standing Order here.

Role of SERVE in APD:

SERVE’s volunteer programme is a great support to APD, India. In 2019, eight volunteers helped play a vital role with APD in promoting people with disability (PWD) through special services. An example of one of these engagements comes from SERVE volunteer Elaine Houlihan, a qualified physiotherapist. Elaine used her skills to work with the physiotherapy department at APD, and her special objective was to work in hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is a treatment that involves the use of water for pain relief. The physio department, at the time, lacked specialist knowledge in this area. Elaine used her skills and knowledge in hydrotherapy to run classes for children with cerebral palsy and facilitated specialist training for the newly formed hydrotherapy team. Elaine’s work was highly regarded in APD, and she found the whole experience very beneficial and explains,

‘Seeing the impact the hydrotherapy had on the children was heart-warming. I really started to notice it when parents said it to me about the improvements they had seen in their children after only one week of sessions’ 

-Elaine Houlihan

‘Seeing the impact the hydrotherapy had on the children was heart-warming. I really started to notice it when parents said it to me about the improvements they had seen in their children after only one week of sessions’ 

-Elaine Houlihan

SERVE volunteers Elaine and Killian in a hydrotherapy session in APD

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the SERVE community has continued to provide support to APD in India throughout the crisis. COVID-19 restrictions prevent us from organising large fundraising events. This means that we can no longer rely on existing revenue streams to the same extent. With this in mind, we seek to establish new and effective ways to fund our efforts in India, to ensure that we reach out to people with disability who need our help.

Children and staff in APD

While acknowledging the current crisis, SERVE acknowledges the constraints caused to the entire world by COVID-19. However, the vulnerable members of society like those with disabilities in Bangalore are significantly affected by the virus outbreak.

Our solidarity reminds us of our responsibility to support them in overcoming financial and social constraints that they experience due to this pandemic.

Our Flip Flop Appeal to you is to join our vision with a one-off donation or pledge a monthly gift and become a regular donor to support SERVE continue the work of supporting and empowering the vulnerable members of society alongside APD in India. 

Please support our Flip Flop Appeal and join our vision with a one-off donation or pledge a monthly gift and become a regular donor to support SERVE’s continued work of supporting and empowering young people and adults living with a range of disabilities. 

The people which APD support have been affected hugely by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has worsened poverty levels. However, APD has shown great resilience and adaptiveness to respond to the immediate needs of communities affected by COVID-19. 

Acknowledging the current third wave of the crisis, people in India are significantly affected by the virus outbreak. Our solidarity reminds us of our responsibility to support them in overcoming the financial and social constraints that they experience due to this pandemic. 

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