“We look forward with optimism”: APDA CEO outlines 2021 ambitions

Published by Zeenat Jeewa on February 17th 2021, 11:11am

The Asian People’s Disability Alliance [APDA] is a grassroots non-profit organisation that is established, managed and run by disabled people. Having celebrated its 30th anniversary in a challenging 2020, CEO Zeenat Jeewa [pictured] reflects on APDA’s accomplishments so far and looks to the months ahead with optimism for further growth and expansion.

Our organisation, The Asian People’s Disability Alliance [APDA], is a grassroots organisation set up, managed, and run by disabled people. We are a non-profit, non-denominational and non-governmental pan-disability organisation with special consultative status within the United Nations Economic & Social Council. We have been active for the last 30 years not only in the UK, but also provide developmental activities and support overseas and in the South and South East of Asia.

At APDA we provide holistic direct care services to elderly and disabled people as well as supporting their carers and families. APDA is extremely passionate about disability and race matters and often provide input and support, as well as getting involved in policy level activities regarding both disability and race. Our user-led and needs-led services are culturally sensitised and tailored in accordance with Asian ethos, values, and traditions. The organisation’s stakeholders are considered part of a family under our ‘oneness’ policy.

Not only is APDA an accredited social care provider working in partnership with several local authorities to offer specialised care provision to their communities in their respective constituencies, but APDA also has regular involvement in global disability movements through its affiliation with the UN. As well as keeping to our local commitment to provide support, we have supported disabled people living in the slums of Delhi in India and had valuable input as advisors on accessibility and care services in Pakistan. We have also worked with disabled internally displaced people in Sri Lanka and provided support to mothers of disabled children in Myanmar, as well as self-help support to different disability groups in Thailand. APDA has also visited Bangladesh for disability scoping purposes, with a special focus on displaced refugees in Cox’s Bazaar refugee camps.

Many of the highlights we have had at APDA have been celebrated in the community and published in various outlets. Last year APDA celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a grand gathering attended by VIP guests including the Local Mayors. We have always been a forward-thinking organisation and have developed publications on research and the work we carry out in the community. Some these publications include Social Value and Social Capital and Community Asset Transfer which provide detailed insight to our organisation and the services we provide to the wider community. APDA also carried out a joint research project Humare Avaaz [Our Voice] with Disability Rights UK, which later was featured in The Guardian newspaper. Details and contents of these publications can be found on our APDA website.

During our endeavours, we have received much inspirational support and recognition from several sources including the Royal Family. In the past, APDA has been given the Community of The Year Award awarded by The British Asian Business Association. Our co-founder Michael Jeewa has been awarded a British Empire Medal as well as a British Community Award for services to disabled people. Our co-founders have been honoured by an invitation from Buckingham Palace for an event hosted by The Prime Minister, followed by a visit from HRH Princess Anne to our Resource Centre.

APDA would welcome partnerships from the corporate sector under the corporate social responsibility [CSR] policies. Our organisation is keen to implement post Covid-19 specific projects for people with Dementia and those with learning difficulties. The pandemic has had a severe impact on our BAME organisation and even more of an effect on the social development of our service users. APDA is keen to expand its specialised care provisions to more users across other London boroughs and would need more space for this. Therefore, we would also welcome premises providing partners for collaborations. We look forward to the future with optimism and eagerly await the wins and challenges that 2021 may bring. 

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Authored By

Zeenat Jeewa
CEO at The Asian People's Disability Alliance [APDA]
February 17th 2021, 11:11am

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