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“Extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people”




Apnalaya is a secular, voluntary organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of the urban poor in Mumbai. Of the city’s 12 million inhabitants, more than 60% live in slums or on pavements, often in inhuman conditions.  While many of the older slums have water and electricity and the residents over the years have improved their homes, those living in the poorer, unauthorised communities lack even the most basic amenities.


Apnalaya’s approach is to work with people rather than for them, helping them to identify and respond to local needs through community participation and using local resources. The approach is dual. The first component concentrates on developing local knowledge, skills and leadership to work on identified needs, encouraging self-sufficiency through training. The second involves the provision of direct services, again according to the needs expressed by local people.  Education, particularly pre-school education, and community health are two focus areas.




Apnalaya was started in 1972 as a welfare programme for the children of hutment dwellers at Nariman Point. Within three years, Apnalaya centres were opened in three other slum communities in Tardeo, Govandi and Malad, which has increased to ten now, including a Training Centre in Masjid Bunder.


The shift in location was accompanied by a change in approach.  No longer satisfied just running programmes for children in deprived communities, Apnalaya decided to reach out to people, to work with them rather than for them, strengthen local leadership potential, and offer training, guidance and support. We would start programmes only if the community felt they were needed, and with their involvement in the planning and implementation of the programme.


This approach was used from the start in Shivaji Nagar, Govandi in 1975 and has been adopted in all subsequent communities where we have taken up projects, more recently, those located on the edge of the dumping ground in Deonar.



1.       Education

A belief in the importance of education in the broadest sense underscores most of Apnalaya’s work. For more than 25 years Apnalaya has been promoting preschool education in deprived communities, running its own balwadis, and training teachers to run hundreds of balwadis all over Mumbai. Study classes and sponsorship help children to stay in school and structured recreation session’s help in the overall development of the more vulnerable children in the community.

*        Balwadis and khelwadis

*        Support to community run balwadis

*        Sponsorship of school going children, including handicapped children

*        Study classes and non-formal education

*        School attendance promotion week

         Weekly recreation sessions                                                                      


2.       Health

To make a significant improvement in the health status of a community Apnalaya adopts a holistic approach, combining preventive, curative and promotive programmes with working with local groups on environmental issues.  Preventive health education is of prime importance, but Apnalaya also runs clinics, which are affordable and easily accessible in communities where these are lacking. Particular attention is paid to the health of women and young children.

*        General clinics

*        Immunisation and growth monitoring

*        ANC and gynecological clinics

*        Family planning

*        Health classes for community women

*        Training of community health workers

*        Campaigns on health topics 

*        DOTS TB control programme                                                                


3.       Community development

The objective of community development is to enable people to bring about change in their lives and in their community. This is done by working in partnership with the community, identifying areas of concern, and working on issues, which will lead to an improvement in their condition. The needs and concerns vary from community to community, but include:

*        Housing, and infrastructure such as water and electricity

*        Sanitation, and the construction of community toilet blocks

*        Work with the Municipality to improve infrastructure

*        Group mobilisation to agitate against unreasonable rise in school fees, or for the

     preservation of an open space

*        Promoting communal harmony and good relations with the police

*        Community participation in sports promotion         


4.    Women’s empowerment

Apnalaya recognizes the important role played by the woman in the family and runs a number of programs to help her in the various roles that she performs. Often she shoulders not only the physical and social but also the financial responsibilities of the family. Taking all this into consideration, Apnalaya has started several programmes to help women in particular, and through them, their families.

*     Family counseling

*     ‘Bachat Gat’, or saving groups

*     Rationing groups

*     Special programmes for women, such as Mahila Milan

*     ‘Yuvati Gat’ for adolescent girls

*     Vocaional training


5.    Training

Apnalaya has been offering training, designed initially to meet the needs of our own staff and community groups, to community level workers employed in other NGOs and government and municipal projects, and representatives of community based organisations since 1977.  Training aims at equipping the participants whom have practical experience with the skills and necessary information to help them perform more effectively in their work and in their community. Training include:

*        Para-professional training

*        Balwadi teachers’ training

*        Community health workers training

*        Group development training to build groups to work on rationing issues, housing

     issues, start savings groups, or manage a community projects

*        Training for community groups on specific topics, such as HIV/AIDS 


6.       Counseling and Community education

The Community Education Cell of Apnalaya carries out awareness programs in schools and in the community on the dangers of drug, alcohol and gutka abuse, and on HIV/AIDS prevention. Counseling and support is offered to families living with HIV/AIDS, individuals seeking help with drug or alcohol related problems, and for family problems, mainly related to marital or property disputes.

*        Family counseling center

*        Counseling and support for HIV/AIDS affected families

*        Drug and alcohol related counseling

*        Awareness programs in schools for drug, alcohol and gutka prevention

*        AIDS Awareness Week in the first week of December

*        Programs to promote awareness through community cricket tournaments or at

      festivals such as January 26th and Ghanesh festival.



Apnalaya is confident that, in nearly 30 years of work, it has not only helped large numbers of people towards a better life but has witnessed the transformation of many individuals from the communities and within its staff into dedicated community workers, leaders and role models. 


Apnalaya’s efforts have resulted in:


*       Improved educational standards through balwadis, study classes, non formal education, sponsorship, and emphasis on education for girls.

*       Improved health, particularly of women and children through preventive health education, immunisation and growth monitoring, women’s health interventions and anti-natal care.

*       Improved nutritional levels, not only through nutrition education but by helping women to contribute to the family income through vocational training, formation of savings groups, and vigilance groups to work on rationing related issues.

*       Increased levels of self-confidence of men and women both in our own communities and from elsewhere through training and encouragement to work on issues that affect them and their communities, such as housing and sanitation, education and health care, communal harmony, or the fear of AIDS.


Apnalaya has also:

*       Offered guidance, counselling and support to many individuals and families who have come to our centres seeking help with personal problems, whether drug or alcohol related, marital or property disputes, difficulties getting a ration card or caste certificate or school admission or accessing a government loan scheme, and more recently, with facing up to the grim reality of living - and dying – with HIV and AIDS.

*       Sustained whole communities through crisis support to cope with the trauma and aftermath of the communal riots in Shivaji Nagar in 1992/93, or the shifting of the entire Chickoowadi community to a new location in 1995 and their adjustment to a new way of life in high rise buildings.



Apnalaya has nearly 80 staff, full or part time.  Headed by Director Leena Joshi and Assistant Directors, Dyaneshwar Tarwade and Manoj Shirsath who have been with Apnalaya for 24,14 and 11 years respectively, the team consists of 4 trained social worker, 18 para-professional staff, 19 pre-school teachers, 11 helpers, 14 community health workers, 3 doctors, 8 administrative staff, and a number of study class and vocational class teachers.  Apart from the professional staff, the majority of the staff are from the communities where we work and trained to be teachers, health workers, counsellors, and para-professional community workers. Their level of dedication and commitment is quite remarkable.



During the financial year 2002 – 2003 Apnalaya spent nearly 45,00,000 rupees, of which over 26,00,000 was spent on staff salaries. Donations accounted for 2/3rds of our income, about half in the form of funding for particular projects or programmes. Grants from the government contributed less than 1% and collections 4.8% of income.  We levy a small charge for all our services, such as balwadis, picnics, and clinics, except for immunisation and ANC, the amounts determined in consultation with the local communities.  However, we do not refuse those who cannot pay.  The balance of over 21% was investment income, from our Corpus fund and bank deposits.  As investment income and interest rates are falling, we must try harder to build up the Corpus fund, which is currently a little over Rs.75 lakhs.


The registered and mailing address of Apnalaya is:

75, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026, India

Email:  &


The administrative office is located in the Transit Camp, New Jaiphalwadi, behind the Armed Police Quarters, Tardeo, Mumbai 400 034   Tel: 24949752 & 24980139   



Shivaji Nagar office is at 889/896, Lotus Colony, Plot no.14, Shivaji Nagar, Govandi, Mumbai 400 043  Tel: 25506110/9892210752


Apnalaya centres are located in Jaiphalwadi and Datta Mandir, Tardeo,  Wadaripadda in Malad, Chickuwadi in Mankhurd, Lotus Colony in Shivaji Nagar, and in Rafiq Nagar, Shanti Nagar, Padma Nagar and Chickalwadi, all on the edge of the Deonar dumping ground around Shivaji Nagar. Apnalaya Training Centre is in Masjid Bunder.


Bank accounts: with the Bank of India, Tardeo Road branch.  Savings bank accounts numbers 9633, and for foreign donations 16811 Swiftcode: BKIDINBBBOS

Auditor:  Borkar & Muzumder


Apnalaya is registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act – No. F-2830 and the Societies Registration Act – No.  75/73 G.B.B.S.D.  It has registration under Section 80-G of the Income Tax Act and the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.


The affairs of APNALAYA are managed by an Executive Committee consisting of:


·         President:  Dr Indra Makhijani

Part of the Apnalaya medical team since she volunteered her services in 1976, Dr Makhijani has been an active Executive Committee member for many years and President since 1990.  Also a Lions Club member for more than 20 years, she is a permanent Trustee of the Ballard Estate Club.


·         Secretary:  Dr Sudha Datye

After completing her M.B.B.S. in Indore, Dr Datye worked for more than 35 years in hospitals and as medical officer in an industrial setting before joining Apnalaya in 1994. She shares with husband, who joined Apanlaya as a volunteer doctor in 1992, a deep concern for the health of the poor.


·         Treasurer:  Mrs Annabel Mehta

Annabel Mehta has been closely associated with Apnalaya since becoming a member in 1973. She is a social worker by training, holding a Diploma in Social Administration from the London School of Economics. She has lived in Mumbai since 1966.


·         Member:   Mrs Pushpa Shah

A member of Apnalaya since 1973, Mrs Shah was actively involved in building up the organisation in the early years. Now a member of the Executive Committee, she has also served as Secretary and President.


·         Member:  Dr Pratima Panwalkar

Dr Panwalkar has been associated with the work of APNALAYA since 1973. She has taken voluntary retirement as an Associate Professor at the Tata Insitute of Social Sciences after 25 years of service, and now works as an Independent Social Development Consultant. Her areas of special interest are participatory development and institutional capacity building. She is associated with a number of national and international development projects. She joined the Executive Committee in May 2002.



Registered & Mailing Address: 75, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai – 26.


Director : Leena Joshi            Tel. : (Resi.) 2409 01 50/98926 32224


Jaiphalwadi Centre & Office             Behind Building No. 7,

                                                          Armed Police Colony,

                                                          Tardeo Circle, Mumbai – 400 036.

                                                          Tel. 2494 9752, 2498 0139

                                                          Fax : 2368 8512

                                                          E-mail :


Datta Mandir                                    Dinanath Mageshkar Marg,

                                                          Tardeo, Mumbai – 400 036.





Lotus Colony Centre & Office          Lotus Colony, 889-896, Plot No. 14,

                                                          Govandi, Mumbai – 400 043

                                                          Tel. : 2550 6110 / 3091 8248


Padmanagar                                     Padmanagar, Road No. 14,



Chikhalwadi                                      Plot No. 38, Line K,

                                                          Chikhalwadi, Bainganwadi


Shanti Nagar                                    Near Shantinagar Budhha Vihar,

                                                          Road No. 14,  Shantinagar,

                                                          Bainganwadi, Shivaji Nagar No. 2


Rafi Nagar                                        Rafi Nagar, Shivaji Nagar


Chikuwadi                                         Roma Banjara Tanda Co-Op. Housing Society,

                                                          Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road,

                                                          Mankhurd,  Mumbai – 400 043


Malad Centre                                    Wadari Pada, Dhanji Wadi,

                                                          Rani Sati Marg, Malad (East),

                                                          Mumbai – 400 097



Society Reg. No. : GBBSD 75/73        Public Trust Reg. No. : F-2830 (BOM)

FCRA Reg. No. : 083780332

Reg. No. : under 80 G : DIT(E)/Mc/80G/1528/98-99 dt. 18.3.99