About Us

Vision & Mission

Vision

Empowered People – Sustainable Communities

Mission

Apnalaya works with the urban poor- Enabling access to basic services, healthcare, education and livelihoods; Empowering them to help themselves; and Ensuring provision of civic entitlements through advocacy with the government.

Apnalaya's Values

Accountability

Willingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions

Integrity

Demonstrating moral and ethical principles at work

Collectivisation

Engaged in collective action to come together to realize impact

Innovation

Constantly seeking to improve through new ideas

Respect

Identify and appreciate strengths in others and accept one’s vulnerabilities

Perseverance

Inner strength to remain constant to a purpose, idea or task in the face of obstacles

Accountability

Willingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions

Integrity

Demonstrating moral and ethical principles at work

Collectivisation

Engaged in collective action to come together to realize impact

Innovation

Constantly seeking to improve through new ideas

Respect

Identify and appreciate strengths in others and accept one’s vulnerabilities

Perseverance

Inner strength to remain constant to a purpose, idea or task in the face of obstacles

Our History

‘Apnalaya’ was founded in 1972 (it got its name Apnalaya in 1976) by Tom Holland, the then Australian Consul General in Mumbai, who set up a Daycare Centre for children of migrant labourers in the hutments of Nariman Point, Mumbai. By the time Tom was posted out of India early in 1973, it was being run by a small group of volunteers led by Shanta Gupta as President, and was registered under the Societies Registration Act.

In 1975 we expanded into settled slum communities beginning with New Jaiphalwadi, followed shortly by Datta Mandir, both in Tardeo where we employed our first social workers. Responding to community needs, we started with a balwadi in one centre and a clinic in the other.

 

In 1976 we acquired another centre – in Lotus Colony in the slums of Shivaji Nagar, Govandi in M East Ward. The surrounding wasteland was being rapidly inhabited by the homeless and slumlords, as work could be found in the newly opened abattoir and the neighbouring dumping ground.

 

A fourth centre was opened in Wadaripada, Malad, in 1977 to work mainly with Wadaris from the Maharashtra Karnataka border area; and our fifth and last in Chikuwadi, inside the BARC Complex in Mankhurd in 1981. Here the inhabitants were largely Banjaras. We started with educational and medical programmes and added programmes for women and adolescent girls.

In 1975 we expanded into settled slum communities beginning with New Jaiphalwadi, followed shortly by Datta Mandir, both in Tardeo where we employed our first social workers. Responding to community needs, we started with a balwadi in one centre and a clinic in the other.
In 1976 we acquired another centre – in Lotus Colony in the slums of Shivaji Nagar, Govandi in M East Ward. The surrounding wasteland was being rapidly inhabited by the homeless and slumlords, as work could be found in the newly opened abattoir and the neighbouring dumping ground. A fourth centre was opened in Wadaripada, Malad, in 1977 to work mainly with Wadaris from the Maharashtra Karnataka border area; and our fifth and last in Chikuwadi, inside the BARC Complex in Mankhurd in 1981. Here the inhabitants were largely Banjaras. We started with educational and medical programmes and added programmes for women and adolescent girls.
By 1980s we had centres across the city of Mumbai running programmes on preschool education, school sponsorship, recreation, preventive community health and mother and child health. We were one of the first NGOs to empower women from the communities, offering them training as balwadi teachers and community health workers. We also ran a training course for para professional social workers for our programmes and for NGOs across the city for many years.

Favouring a rights-based solution, Apnalaya began to consolidate its work around issues such as housing and water. We played a key role when the government shifted the Chikuwadi community out of the BARC colony to Mankhurd in 1994.

By the end of the 90s, most of our programmes in these areas were either no longer necessary or handed over to the community and/or other NGOs. SRA rehousing schemes in all these areas resulted in the communities eventually being moved into high-rise blocks with basic amenities.

But this was not the case in Shivaji Nagar. In the wake of the communal riots in December 1992-93, while doing relief work, we realised the extreme deprivation there. Subsequently, we initiated a major Government funded Mother and Child health programme in Padma Nagar and Shanti Nagar.

We developed a community care approach in Shivaji Nagar which involved capacity building of individuals for availing basic entitlements like ration card, pan card, birth certificates and so on. We also started a disability programme.

Shivaji Nagar has the lowest Human Development Index in Mumbai. In addition to the omnipresent health threat in the form of the Deonar landfill site, M East Ward has also received the least attention and care from the government. The population has risen to over 400,000 but there are still limited healthcare and education facilities.

Recasting Integrated Community Development Approach, we developed a structured, curriculum-based Citizenship programme and ensured that all our interventions were gender informed.

We began to set targets at three levels: Individuals, Community and Government. Detailed measurement and evaluation tools were put in place to capture data across all programmes to track the impact of our work.

Apnalaya is now recognised for its sustained holistic work with the urban poor and the government, informed by evidence from the ground.

Our History

‘Apnalaya’ was founded in 1972 (it got its name Apnalaya in 1976) by Tom Holland, the then Australian Consul General in Mumbai, who set up a Daycare Centre for children of migrant labourers in the hutments of Nariman Point, Mumbai. By the time Tom was posted out of India early in 1973, it was being run by a small group of volunteers led by Shanta Gupta as President, and was registered under the Societies Registration Act.

In 1975 we expanded into settled slum communities beginning with New Jaiphalwadi, followed shortly by Datta Mandir, both in Tardeo where we employed our first social workers. Responding to community needs, we started with a balwadi in one centre and a clinic in the other.

 

In 1976 we acquired another centre – in Lotus Colony in the slums of Shivaji Nagar, Govandi in M East Ward. The surrounding wasteland was being rapidly inhabited by the homeless and slumlords, as work could be found in the newly opened abattoir and the neighbouring dumping ground.

 

A fourth centre was opened in Wadaripada, Malad, in 1977 to work mainly with Wadaris from the Maharashtra Karnataka border area; and our fifth and last in Chikuwadi, inside the BARC Complex in Mankhurd in 1981. Here the inhabitants were largely Banjaras. We started with educational and medical programmes and added programmes for women and adolescent girls.

In 1975 we expanded into settled slum communities beginning with New Jaiphalwadi, followed shortly by Datta Mandir, both in Tardeo where we employed our first social workers. Responding to community needs, we started with a balwadi in one centre and a clinic in the other.
In 1976 we acquired another centre – in Lotus Colony in the slums of Shivaji Nagar, Govandi in M East Ward. The surrounding wasteland was being rapidly inhabited by the homeless and slumlords, as work could be found in the newly opened abattoir and the neighbouring dumping ground. A fourth centre was opened in Wadaripada, Malad, in 1977 to work mainly with Wadaris from the Maharashtra Karnataka border area; and our fifth and last in Chikuwadi, inside the BARC Complex in Mankhurd in 1981. Here the inhabitants were largely Banjaras. We started with educational and medical programmes and added programmes for women and adolescent girls.

By 1980s we had centres across the city of Mumbai running programmes on preschool education, school sponsorship, recreation, preventive community health and mother and child health. We were one of the first NGOs to empower women from the communities, offering them training as balwadi teachers and community health workers. We also ran a training course for para professional social workers for our programmes and for NGOs across the city for many years.

Favouring a rights-based solution, Apnalaya began to consolidate its work around issues such as housing and water. We played a key role when the government shifted the Chikuwadi community out of the BARC colony to Mankhurd in 1994.

By the end of the 90s, most of our programmes in these areas were either no longer necessary or handed over to the community and/or other NGOs. SRA rehousing schemes in all these areas resulted in the communities eventually being moved into high-rise blocks with basic amenities.

But this was not the case in Shivaji Nagar. In the wake of the communal riots in December 1992-93, while doing relief work, we realised the extreme deprivation there. Subsequently, we initiated a major Government funded Mother and Child health programme in Padma Nagar and Shanti Nagar.

We developed a community care approach in Shivaji Nagar which involved capacity building of individuals for availing basic entitlements like ration card, pan card, birth certificates and so on. We also started a disability programme.

Shivaji Nagar has the lowest Human Development Index in Mumbai. In addition to the omnipresent health threat in the form of the Deonar landfill site, M East Ward has also received the least attention and care from the government. The population has risen to over 400,000 but there are still limited healthcare and education facilities.

Recasting Integrated Community Development Approach, we developed a structured, curriculum-based Citizenship programme and ensured that all our interventions were gender informed.

We began to set targets at three levels: Individuals, Community and Government. Detailed measurement and evaluation tools were put in place to capture data across all programmes to track the impact of our work.

Apnalaya is now recognised for its sustained holistic work with the urban poor and the government, informed by evidence from the ground.

Our Credentials

Our People