About US

About Us

Western Cape APD’s vision is an inclusive society in which persons with disabilities are equal and active citizens.  We have therefore made it our mission to work together with persons with disabilities and their families in facilitating social development and upliftment services whereby they take the lead in removing barriers and achieving independence.



Western Cape APD was established in February 1937 as Cape Cripple Care, but which later became the Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities.  The intention initially was to coordinate orthopaedic services to persons with disabilities but we soon realised that a far greater need lay in assisting persons to cope with social issues. We now take a holistic look at the person’s circumstances and work with them towards their own independence.

We are one of 9 Provincial Associations situated throughout South Africa affiliated to the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), which in turn is affiliated to the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) and Rehabilitation International (RI).

Added to our team are 27 Branches in both urban & rural communities who provide social development services to persons with disabilities, while we act in an advisory, supervisory and training capacity to enable Branches to provide the best possible service.

We are a level 4 BBBEE contributor




Social services look at all areas of the person’s life, while drawing on related services for child care, education, employment, skills development, occupational therapy, assistive devices, awareness raising, accessibility and training.

Our services are free of charge and open to anyone who needs help.

Peer Support

People with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities hold the potential to be powerful role models and to provide true empathetic support to their peers.  A peer support is someone who has been trained on how to support and educate their peers in various issues related to their daily lived experience.

Role of Peer Supporters

  • To identify children, youth and adults with disabilities who need support services
  • To provide information and practical & emotional support, either during home visits or group sessions
  • To facilitate access to services
  • To educate persons with disabilities on health promotion and independent living
  • To educate parents of children with disabilities of the importance of stimulating / play activities in child development
  • To promote participation in livelihood activities
  • To participate in awareness raising and advocacy activities
  • To speak out on disability rights in community forums
  • To mobilise people with disabilities and their families to take action together to address barriers

Impact on communities

  • Living conditions of persons with disabilities are improving;
  • Linking persons with disabilities to opportunities, e.g. employment
  • Peer Supporters are a resource to professionals
  • Visiting persons with disabilities in their homes regularly
  • Networking with local professionals

Impact on communities

  • Living conditions of persons with disabilities are improving;
  • Linking persons with disabilities to opportunities, e.g. employment
  • Peer Supporters are a resource to professionals
  • Visiting persons with disabilities in their homes regularly
  • Networking with local professionals


Case study : Dorothy’s story

Dorothy is a Peer Supporter in Beaufort West.  She is the mother of a child with a disability and here she tells a story of her work with one of her clients.

When Dorothy first visited a young 10 year old girl with cerebral palsy and intellectual disability, her mother shared how she had never sent her daughter to school as she was afraid that the other children would tease her.  The mother also shared how she has always carried her daughter around on her back when she goes out.  Dorothy discovered that the mother had never actually applied for a care dependency grant for her daughter.

Dorothy offered to accompany the mom to the SASSA office to apply for a grant.  The mom kept on putting this off despite Dorothy’s offer of help.  The mom was afraid that the SASSA officials would ask her if her child was in a centre or a school. Dorothy kept visiting and eventually persuaded the mom to go with her to SASSA.  Dorothy said she explained to the mom that it was not about her, but about her child and her child’s needs.

Dorothy and the mom went together to SASSA and within a month the mom had an appointment to see the doctor.  This was surprising as most people have to wait a long time before they get an appointment.  Dorothy thinks that the difference was that she accompanied the mother.  Within a month, the grant application was approved.  Dorothy shared how the mom so appreciated her support and practical help.

The young girl is waiting for a place in the local ELSEN unit and she will then start attending school for the first time in her life!  In Dorothy’s own words: “Is this not something to be thankful for?!”

Dorothy is also assisting the mother with the process of getting a wheelchair for her daughter so that she doesn’t need to carry her around when they go out.

In Dorothy’s own words:
 “If I think of how life was for the child and her mother… now there is hope and an income!  I am so glad that I could make a difference in someone’s life!”


Impact on Peer Supporters

Peer Supporters themselves increase their knowledge on various disabilities and gain further understanding of their own disability.  They are empowered and equipped with the appropriate skills to provide support services.  Peer Supporters have testified of their personal growth and feel proud of the change they are making in communities.

Impact on our organisation

The Peer Support programme is gradually facilitating a shift in our organisation’s approach to service delivery.  Staff are starting to see people with disabilities and parents not only as recipients, but as equal partners in planning and implementing services.  The programme has also increased our organisation’s visibility in communities.

This programme has highlighted the role the peer support strategy in moving people with disabilities out of a culture of dependency promoting true empowerment and active citizenship!



Many persons with disabilities, particularly in rural areas, do not have permanent employment and are therefore unable to provide for their families.

We encourage businesses to offer learnerships and job shadowing opportunities and will support clients during this process towards meaningful employment.

Our 12 protective workshops develop the individual’s skills in a non-threatening, sheltered employment environment and support individuals on their journey towards employment, including looking into the various employment options available, developing skills where necessary, discussing job opportunities with employers and providing support to persons with disabilities as they begin their new work.

There is a range of work available within the workshops which up-skill clients in leatherwork, woodwork, recycling, needlework and upholstery. Several workshops also undertake contract work for local businesses and corporates.

Life skills training is also offered to all clients while activity and craft groups provide the opportunity for creativity and socialisation.

Gainful employment is the means by which an individual can escape poverty, secure the necessities of life and support one’s family.

Special Care Centres


APD is a safety net for parents of children with disabilities, providing support and training to parents on how to best care for their child, ensuring that their child enrols in the neighbourhood early childhood development centre, and facilitating inclusion in the education system when the child reaches school-going age.

Children with severe disabilities are able to attend 1 of our 6 our special care centres where our trained and committed carers will ensure that they receive constant stimulation and development so that they can become the best they can be.  Centres can be found in Beaufort West, George, Oudtshoorn, Paarl, Vredendal and Worcester.

Early stimulation and development activities are vital for ALL children in order for them to flourish and grow.


Corporate services


We are passionate about creating a society that recognises persons with disabilities as equal citizens! Key to this ideal is correcting attitudinal barriers which are often more disabling than any other.  We believe that only once a person understands and is sensitive to the impact of disability on the individual, will they be able to truly change their way of thinking and interaction with persons with disabilities.

Knowledge doesn’t lead to change  -  understanding does.- Dr Mehmet Oz

Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace

We will assist companies in their journey towards, during and after the recruitment and employment of persons with disabilities, particularly in the selection process, legislation and sensitisation of current staff.

Accessibility scans

Accessibility includes access to information, transportation, communication technology and other services available to the public.  We follow the principles of Universal Design which is the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.

It includes access to -

  • Environment
  • Information
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Employment





While our services to persons with disabilities are free of charge, the cost of those services is not.  A large portion of our time is spent raising the funds necessary to sustain our services to persons with disabilities, one of the most vulnerable population groups, particularly in rural and under-resourced areas.

Expansion of the Peer Support programme

Amount required :    R   815 000    (10 Peer Supporters @ 1 Branch for 12 months)

We have identified 6 areas to which we would like to expand the Peer Support programme:  Hout Bay, Laingsburg, Stellenbosch and Worcester, as well as Mitchells Plain and Manenburg on the Cape Flats.

Peer Supporters will also be trained in the Hambisela programme.  This is a 7-module training programme for parents of children with cerebral palsy, which helps them understand this complex disability; how they can care for their child and facilitate their child’s development. Modules cover topics such as positioning, feeding, play and communication.

Establishment of a Toy Library

Amount required : R 6 000

Children with disabilities often experience challenges with their physical and / or intellectual development, resulting in developmental delays.  Early identification, assessment and stimulation of the young child with a disability is therefore crucial in providing them with optimal opportunity for physical, intellectual and social development.

Unfortunately many children with disabilities are often excluded from services such as mainstream crèches or they need to go on waiting lists for access to specialist institutions.  Other factors that further contribute to a lack of stimulation includes uninformed parents and financial constraints.

Toy libraries or active learning libraries are excellent resources to overcome these challenges and provide children with the necessary stimulation from a very young age and promote school readiness.  Some of the advantages of toy libraries for children with disabilities:

  • A wide range of toys are available, providing stimulation in all areas of development and for varying levels of functioning and abilities.
  • Good quality toys or materials are often expensive, but being able to share these among many children makes them cost effective.
  • A specific toy or device which proves to be inappropriate for a specific child can easily be returned and swopped for something else.
  • Parents and care-givers of children are guided in the appropriate selection and use of toys and stimulation materials.
  • Toy libraries often provide an opportunity for parents to meet, offer support and share with one another, while children are given the opportunity for socialization. 

Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities (WCAPD) is in the process of establishing a toy library as part of a pilot project to explore the value, potential benefits and outcomes of having such a service linked to an APD branch.  The George APD branch was identified for this pilot, due to a high incidence of children with disabilities with a lot of these children currently on a waiting list for George APD’s daycare centre.  These children spend most of their day at home without appropriate stimulation and exposure to educational activities.

We hope to get the toy library started by 2016.  Some of the things that we will need include:

  • A wide variety of educational toys for different ages and abilities (toys that are typically used at crèches or pre-schools):

-  blocks in different sizes, shapes and colours
-  shape organizers
-  stacking rings
-  beads, blocks or other objects for beading
-  various sizes balls
-  bean bags
-  puzzles (strong, durable pieces)
-  crayons
-  paint brushes
-  musical instruments
-  educational games (‘spot the difference’, ‘match the pictures’, etc)
-  board games (dominoes, snakes & ladders, etc)

  • Various containers for storage and hand-out of toys (plastic containers, cotton bags, durable boxes, etc)
  • Monetary contributions (to buy cleaning products, consumables such as play dough and paint, stationary and to cover unforeseen expenses)







Equipment & Toys

Educational toys & games for intellectual & fine-motor stimulation (i.e. beads, blocks, play dough)




Equipment / toys for physical stimulation (i.e. balls, bean bags)




Equipment / toys for sensory stimulation (i.e. music instruments)




Containers for storage & hand out of toys (plastic or other durable boxes, cotton bags, etc)





Training material & stationary (training of parents;  laminating cards, etc)




Unforeseen expenses (i.e. cleaning agents)





R6 000.00

If you would like to make any kind of contribution towards our Toy Library Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Entrepreneurial Development

Amount required : R 60 000


This Association and its Branches render services in areas which have large disadvantaged rural communities and a growing need for rehabilitation, practical skills training and work creation facilities capable of serving the specific needs of persons with disabilities.  In order to promote independent community life for persons with disabilities, we must concentrate on community based rehabilitation, skills training, job creation and entrepreneur development programs that will break the poverty cycle.

While we cater for the needs of a limited number of persons with disabilities in our protective workshops, we must also achieve significant movement of persons from these workshops and those presently at home, into an independent life in the community.

This project is aimed at financially assisting persons with disabilities to establish their own home enterprises.  Partnerships with tertiary institutions and businesses will allow us to partner the entrepreneur with a business mentor so as to develop an entrepreneurial culture among persons with disabilities and create a successful venture that yields a sustainable income for them and their families.

4 Entrepreneurs in each of the following branch areas:

Beaufort West APD            Beaufort West
Bethesda Houtbay APD      Hout Bay
Breede Valley APD             Worcester
Cape Town APD                 Cape Town
Drakenstein APD               Paarl
George     APD                  George
Goukam Life APD              Riversdale
Knysna APD                     Knysna
Ocean View APD               Ocean View
Olifantsrivier APD               Vredendal
Oudtshoorn APD               Oudtshoorn
Overstrand APD                 Hermanus
Tembaletu APD                 Guguletu
Tygerberg APD                  Goodwood
West Coast APD               Vredenburg / Saldanha
Witzenberg APD                Ceres


Seeding funding
(16 Branches x 4 persons = 64 persons)              R320 000
(R5 000 pp x 64)

Training, monitoring and evaluation by branches    R  32 000
(R2000-00 per branch x 16)

Administration                                                    R  48 000
(Branch marketing, internet, transport)

Monitoring and evaluation                                     R    7 200

Professional mentoring and training                       R192 000

TOTAL                                                                R599 200

Donations-in-Kind : Tygerberg APD

Workshop                         :    50 x heavy duty plastic chairs
                                             20 x heavy duty plastic storage bins (110L / 150L bins)
                                             5 x 12 tier lockers for workers
                                             1 x safety gate
                                             Blinds for sewing department
                                             2 x gas patio heaters

Charity shop                      :    1 x garment steamer
                                             Clothing rails land shelves
                                             Large wooden bin

Offices                              :    6 x office chairs
                                             Blinds for reception and 1 office
                                             Conference table and 8 chairs
                                             6 x bulletin boards

Kitchen                             :    Kitchen cupboards

General                             :    6 x 20L washable interior paint
                                             10L black oil-based paint
                                             40L white ceiling paint
                                             40L stoep paint
                                             3m x 3m heavy duty gazebo
                                             Digital safe
                                             2 x stationary cupboards

Social work services          :    2 x pedestal fans
                                             1 x Overlocker sewing machine
                                             1 x Kettle

Donations-in-Kind : Paarl Stimulation Centre

Paarl Stimulation Centre provides care and stimulation to 40 children with severe disabilities aged between 4 and 17 years in Dal Josephat, Paarl.

Washing pegs                       Water toys, e.g. water shell and sand pit
Clay                                     Bible book for children
Clay toys                              Paint and paint brushes
Shaving gel or foam               Toothbush holders
3 x CD players                      Mirrors
Stories on CD                       Storybooks
Bostik                                   Plastic chairs
Lego                                     Finger puzzles
Wax crayons                         Glue
Hooks for facecloths

Donations-in-Kind : Drakenstein APD

Motor vehicles                  :   Tyres for 16 seater
                                           Respray of bodywork
                                           Annual servicing of 3 vehicles

Activity groups                  :   Rubber mat
                                           Tiling in activity room

Direct donations may be made through GivenGain

Support fundraising initiatives by registering as a volunteer or donor on our website.

Register as an Activist on GivenGain and fundraise for us online. Yes, it couldn’t be easier! By registering as a fundraiser, you will be able to create your own fundraising page explaining the creative ways in which you aim to raise funds for us.

Name us as a beneficiary on your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card and donate every time you swipe your card.  Select “W.Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities” as your preferred beneficiary, start swiping and receive monthly statements of how much you’ve raised.    Apply now

Your gift of a legacy is also a way of continuing your support to our Association as a cause in which you believe.