On October 25, 1961, Dr. Rene Smeyers, Mr. Michel Verwulgen, Mr Theo De Cuyper, Mr Leo Vandeputte established the non-profit organization Social Rehabilitation Foundation.
Completely independent of any denominational or political group or institution, these people had an ideal: they cared for the fate of a disadvantaged group of people with disabilities.
As a result, the Sheltered Workshop AROP was started in October 1965.
AROP stands for ARbeids-OPleiding. Since its foundation, the goal has been: to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to gain work experience and to offer opportunities for advancement into the normal work cycle.
AROP started its activities with one able-bodied and seven disabled persons in a rented house in Borgerhout. The initial capital was 300,000 borrowed Belgian francs.
In 1970 an old industrial building of 2300 m² was purchased. The successive renovations in 1982 and 1987 tripled our surface.
Together with the acquisition in 1979 of a second branch in Wommelgem, the total surface area was already 7 times more. In 1992, a third workshop with a surface area of 4000 m² was put into use.
The last renovations of the workshop in Borgerhout date back to 1995 and brought the total area to 22,000 m² site surface.
These expansions were only possible due to the steady growth in orders that increased the workforce. This created a lack of space. By 1995 the workforce had grown to more than 300 people with disabilities.