• 34, Annasandrapalya, Vimanapura, Bangalore, Karnataka-560017, India
  • (080)-25232749
  • projects@apsabangalore.org

About APSA

History

In 1976, a group of about eight young people came together with a shared goal – improve the exploitative conditions under which the coolies (load workers) of Secunderabad railway station worked. Thus were the seeds of APSA sown and by 1981, APSA was a formally registered body with its first beneficiaries, the load-bearing coolies, sitting across from their employers and negotiating their terms.

Today, APSA has a huge team of professionals, volunteers, activists and staff working in over 10 different projects in Hyderabad and Bangalore, testifying to its ability to empower the marginalized and underprivileged to fight for their rights.

  • 34
    Years In Development Work
  • 10
    Project Handled
  • 100+
    Staff Members
Award for apsa

About APSA

The Association for Promoting Social Action or APSA is a rights-based, child-centred, community development organization working in Bangalore and Hyderabad since 1981 towards empowerment of the urban poor, especially with children in distress. With ‘Development Without Exploitation’ as its foundation, APSA has been a pioneer in designing unique programs that combine grassroots level work to address development issues of the urban poor, with sustained lobbying and advocacy with government duty-bearers for policy change at state and national levels.

APSA’s work is built on the premise that all people have equal rights irrespective of socio-economic, political or cultural backgrounds; that there is strength in collectivization; and that vulnerable people can become their own change agents with the right information, supportive programs and replicable models which challenge exploitative structures.

Our Vision

APSA’s vision is to ‘work with the community at the grassroots, with the privileged sections of society and with the government towards preventing exploitation and marginalization of the underprivileged, and to evolve social paradigms based on values of justice and non-discrimination for those already in exploitative situations’

Our Mission

APSA’s five-pronged mission is to:

  • Catalyze the process by which underprivileged and deprived communities use their own strengths and efforts to solve their problems and improve the quality of their lives
  • Develop new social paradigms within which comprehensive plans could create better lives for the communities with which we work
  • Enable social development rooted in justice and equity through local people’s organizations devoted to social mobilization, raising awareness and economic and social empowerment
  • Ensure participation of populations frequently under-represented in development – especially women and children
  • Strengthen the expression of local cultures and issues through the use of traditional and folk forms of art, theatre, literature and music.

Objectives

  • To provide practical and strategic support to children in need of care and protection and children in distress
  • To work with underprivileged and marginalized peoples in urban slums to bring about change in the quality of their lives
  • To motivate such communities, in particular women and youth to demand from the government, their rights and entitlements as citizens
  • To sensitize privileged sections of society, government and international community to the issues of the underprivileged and marginalized in urban slums

APSA’s Approach and Work

To understand how APSA works with assembly constituencies, one must first understand that political decisions are involved in the progress from program implementation to benefits reaching the urban poor. Programs that are aimed at helping larger numbers of people bargain for and obtain their human and civil rights cannot be implemented with individuals or families one-on-one. While these are effective for conflict resolution or counseling, larger programs have to be organized harnessing community collectivization and community action. When the community is organized to take a collective stand, then their bargaining power at political, social and economic levels increases, and the heightened sense of ‘we’ among them inspires a collective and sustained fight for their rights.

APSA has found 3 unique approaches to get people together:

  • Working through existing political assembly constituencies: APSA works in 8 assembly constituencies in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Within each constituency, APSA works with specific wards and locations that have a higher concentration of urban poor families, particularly migrant families living in the area, who are the most vulnerable and marginalized of the urban poor.
  • Forming collectives: APSA, being a rights-based organization, has found this the most effective and powerful way in which people gather together on a single platform and independently take collective action to address their issues. Through this collective strength, APSA creates sensitization to surrounding social issues and awareness on welfare programs and schemes for the urban poor, empowering and guiding the collectives to access their own rights. Some of the collectives that APSA has helped to create include youth collectives, children’s collectives (Hasiru Sanghas, Meena Thandas, Child Rights Clubs in schools), SHGs and SHG Federations, and Domestic and Construction workers’ collectives.
  • Working through Child Friendly Wards: APSA’s belief in one of the important goals of the UNCRC – that of the child’s Right to Participation in family, cultural and social life – has led the organization to adopt a de-centralized approach in creating ‘Child Friendly Wards’ (CFW) in its working areas. A CFW is one that has the active participation of children in local governance in identification and resolution of local community issues and those related to children. With support from APSA, children’s collectives in the working areas are encouraged to participate in local Ward meetings in the decision-making, implementation and monitoring of children’s issues. APSA visualizes that, in time, duty bearers will be accountable to children for addressing child-related issues and that children will have a more significant role in decision-making and formation and implementation of child-friendly budgets. To build children’s capacities in good governance, APSA facilitates children’s collectives on a regular basis and provides training on reporting, data collection, documentation and presentation, leadership and communication, thereby making these groups aware of their own capacities for empowerment and change.APSA facilitates the process through a two-pronged approach – one, empowering children’s collectives to discuss with local Corporators on carving a child-focussed Ward budget to address child-related issues; and two, creation of ‘Children’s Sabhas’ at Ward level enabling increased participation of children in Ward Committees.

APSA also has an integrated approach to community development. The organization does not believe in working on issues – either social or cultural or economic – in isolation, but in integration with family and community in order to bring change. This approach is effective in increasing peoples’ bargaining power both as individuals and in groups, empowering families and various groups and ultimately empowering the marginalized individual to become his or her own change-agent in the community.

APSA’s Work in the Context of Changing Global Concerns

Over the last 5 years, APSA has both broadened and focussed its work with urban poor communities. In keeping with wider global attention to cross-cutting issues of alcohol and drugs, environmental concerns and gender issues, APSA has focussed its work more towards empowering urban slum communities at grassroots’ level through collectives, peer group counselling and advocacy with local government.

The organization’s work has also broadened to address cross-cutting issues of alcohol and drugs and gender in its work with children and youth through campaigns at state and national levels and mass awareness in the urban slum communities of its working areas.

APSA’s work is divided under the four thematic areas of Child Rights and Child Rights Advocacy; Gender Advocacy and Empowerment; Alcohol, Drugs and Development; and Empowerment and Development of Young People. Although each thematic area has its own specific program, many aspects of APSA’s work such as land and housing rights, awareness programs in communities and medical camps cut across all the thematic areas.