Message from PB Singh – President of APD KZN

On the occasion of APD’s fiftieth Anniversary, I wish to thank and celebrate the groups of people who played important roles in the development of the organisation. Firstly, the group of early pioneers who believed and acted on an idea that such an organisation was necessary and would be useful in promoting and securing the needs of people with disabilities.

Secondly, the group of leaders and members who expanded the original vision of the organisation by offering exciting new activities and events that continue to serve the constituency today. Thirdly, the group of future leaders and members who will continue to nurture and develop the Association into a vibrant future. 27 August 2017 is a very special day for APD. This day sees the Association celebrate its Golden Jubilee. Half a century of dedicated service. Few would have believed that the Association would have risen to the heights it has in the fields of disability. Lack of support and services for children characterised the early years. The Association’s prime purpose has been to change attitudes to persons with disabilities. In the context of that time, it was a heroic act by the founding members to come together and decide enough is enough. They refused to see Indian persons with disabilities neglected and exploited.

In the sixties little was heard about Natal Cripple Care. As its membership grew it engaged in endless discussions with government officials, welfare organisations, the National Council and with anyone that would listen in order to acquire a better deal. At this time fundamental changes were occurring in South Africa. Indians for the first time were being recognised as integral part of South Africa. The Department of Indian Affairs was established. Thus the time was ripe for its members to branch out and expand, besides providing social work services and protective workshops, the Association realised the importance of education and embarked on a programme to establish special schools, stimulation centres and pre-primary schools for children with special needs. It opened its services to all persons and expanded throughout KZN.

In 50 years, APD has become a notable player on the national stage. Two of its officials have gone on to become Chairman of the National Body. Both have distinguished themselves. APD has shown that with hard work it can stand up and make a significant and meaningful contribution in the field of disability. The Association’s establishment, growth, assertive expansion and outreach have served a purpose in demonstrating to others just what can be achieved through perseverance and steadfastness. As APD celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it does so with a feeling of achievement and satisfaction and with the firm intention of remaining true to its principals well into the future.

Finally no occasion like this would be complete without a full appreciation of the efforts of all those who have worked so hard to make APD’s success, these include among others Dr B T Naidoo, Dr Saras Naidoo, Messrs S N Chetty, T S Maharaj, R P Moodley, P Abdullah, Vasi Nair, K T Maistry, A K Singh and Dr I P Desai. On behalf of the Management and Staff, I express a profound and heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all those past and present members and staff who have contributed to APD’s success.

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