On 25 February 1937 the Cape Cripple Care Association was established, the first of its kind in South Africa, following the establishment of the Invalid Children’s Aid Committee, the Lady Michaelis Orthopaedic Hospital, Princess Alice Orthopaedic Hospitaland St. Joseph’s Home for Chronically Invalid Children. In the same year, Lord Nuffield of England donated £100 000 to South Africa “for the development of orthopaedic surgery and for the discovery and cure of crippling disabilities.” Cape Cripple Care Association decided that the time had come to form a national body. A conference was called in Cape Town in June 1939, the result of which was the establishment of the National Council for the Care of Cripples in South Africa. At this conference, a cripples care charter was adopted. In 1939, the trustees of Lord Nuffield’s gift recognised National Council as executive for the Nuffield Trust.
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.
Over the years the organisation has undergone several name changes and is today known as Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities, fondly shortened to WCAPD.