Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA), founded in 1969 by a group of 23 persons to promote self-help and provide mutual support among the disabled in Singapore, is an organisation run by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities. It was first registered as the Singapore Handicaps Friendship Club. It later became known as Singapore Association for the Disabled in 1975. In 1976, it adopted the present name – Handicaps Welfare Association.
HWA has come a long way from a very modest beginning to what it is today. In the early years, our activities were confined to mere social gatherings. There was no office premises or staff to speak of. Meetings were held in a church library and HWA leaders had to contribute towards the purchase of refreshments. Our Association has since grown to a large and respected organisation with 2,023 members as of 30 April 2015, most of whom are physically-disabled. HWA, occupying an old school building at Whampoa Drive, now has proper offices and other facilities. The Association has a full-time staff of 92 people.
Since 1969, HWA has progressed beyond the traditional areas of social and recreational activities. It has expanded and developed its range of services and taken on various innovative projects to meet the increasing and changing needs of its members.