Much before Mr. Lakshapathi founded APSA in 1981, he was doing social work in his job with the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s Urban Community Development Project nearly four decades ago. It is here that he learnt the challenging ropes of working with government and negotiating with public and private sectors to respond to peoples’ needs. His early work with the Hamalis (coolie workers or loading and unloading workers) in Secunderabad Railway Station, with rickshaw pullers and maintenance workers in aided and un-aided private schools in Hyderabad city led to formation of various Trade Unions of unorganized workers that were hugely successful in fighting for their rights. In the 1980s, Laksha was instrumental in fighting for and getting land rights for slum dwellers in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Laksha (as he is often called) spent the next thirty years working on issues of land rights, housing and habitat for the urban poor in the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad. He can justifiably argue that he has walked across hundreds of slums in the two cities, meeting people and figuring out how to help them help themselves. The issues of children affected by poverty, dysfunctional family life and exploitation and the gap between government schemes and its reach to impoverished communities deeply affected Laksha. As a rights activist working with Concerned for Working Children from 1985 through 1996, he implemented innovative programs on the issue of child labour including collectives of working children which are active in Bangalore and Hyderabad even today.
Passionate about empowering underprivileged communities access rights and benefits through collectivization, Lakshapathi formed APSA in 1981 along with a team of other like-minded, equally committed people. He can be proud to have conceived Nammane (the Kannada word for My Home), a 24-hour model residential crisis intervention and rehabilitation center for children needing care and protection which supports an outreach program with over 1000 street children in 17 locations of Bangalore. Nammane is amongst the best models in the country for an open children's institution, and has helped over 4000 street and working children get legal and medical support, besides education and a stable environment. Another project is the Dream School, a well-planned, well-designed, child-friendly inclusive education program for children from marginalized urban poor communities. Laksha is also credited for being the driving force behind Kaushalya, a skill training centre for adolescent disadvantaged youth in the slums and Navajeevana Nilaya, a shelter home for young working girls, a collaborative effort with the Mali Foundation. Through APSA, Lakshapathi has built a strong team of dedicated staff in Bangalore and Hyderabad who have supported the expansion of APSA's work through 8 assembly constituencies to reach thousands of underprivileged and marginalized youth, women and children.
Laksha speaks and understands four languages - Kannada, Telugu, English & Hindi – and has been involved in sensitization training of police personnel, government officials and the local administration on child rights, street children and child abuse. He evolved various projects to draw more privileged students in colleges and those in corporate sector employment to sensitize them to social issues.
Laksha also represents APSA as a member of various Committees at National, State and District Levels. Some of these are:
- Central Advisory Committee on Child Labour, Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India
- State Project Society for the Eradication of Child Labour
- State-level Society on Integrated Child Protection Services (ICPS), Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Karnataka
- Bangalore Urban District NCLP Project Society under the Chairmanship of the District Commissioner
- Bangalore Urban District Vigilance Committee on Bonded Labour
- Committee of the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO) under the Convenorship of the Child Rights Trust
- The State-level Core Committee of the Campaign Against Child Labour-Karnataka (CACL-K) Chapter
- Core Committee Member of the NGO Network on Human Trafficking under the Convenorship of the International Justice Mission
- Civil Society Organizations Network for Urban Homeless
- Board Member on the Board of the Concerned for Working Children (CWC), Bangalore
Lakshapathi has received numerous awards for his contribution to promoting child rights and child protection, notably the award for ‘Outstanding Achievement by an Individual’ conferred by the Rotary International (Indiranagar) in 1999 and Rotary Club (Jeevan Bhima Nagar). Other awards for Laksha and APSA include:
||Government/ Other Organization
|Outstanding contribution to eradication of child labour
||Department of Labour, Govt. of Karnataka June 2005
|Outstanding contribution to holistic child welfare and child development
||Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Karnataka November 2011
|Award for contribution to the field of Child Rights (eradication of child labour and advocacy on child rights)
||Department of Labour, Govt. of Karnataka June 2012
|Recognizing significant contribution to promoting international voluntary service through meaningful opportunities for international students
||Inter Cultural Dialogue & Exchange, India
|Recognition of commitment and service (finalist in the Citizen Group category)
||Namma Bengaluru Awards for 2013