About the Independent Living Institute (ILI)


The Independent Living Institute (ILI) is a policy development center specializing in consumer-driven policies for disabled peoples' freedom of choice, self-determination, self-respect and dignity. Our ultimate goal is to promote disabled people’s personal and political power. Towards this end we provide information, training materials and develop solutions for services for persons with extensive disabilities in Sweden and internationally. We are experts in designing and implementing direct payment schemes for personal assistance, mainstream taxi and assistive technology.

Activities and Projects (see also latest Annual Report - 2015)

Personal Assistance Tips The project shall collect, document (with text, image, video or drawings) and disseminate tips, tricks and examples of assistance solutions developed by personal assistance users and their assistants. According to the Independent Living philosophy, people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs. 

Our virtual full-text library continuously compiles documents on Independent Living and related subjects such as personal assistance, anti-discrimination laws, universal design (i.e. buildings, communication, transportation usable by all), training manuals, etc. The library’s documents are primarily in English.

Project Fashion Freaks, 2005-2007 and 2010 - 2015, funded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) develops fashionable clothing patterns for people with disabilities that can be downloaded from our website and adapted to individual needs.

The Disability Ombudsman Reporting Service (in Swedish only) facilitates reporting to the Office of the Disability Ombudsman of businesses, authorities, employers who discriminate against people with disabilities. The searchable online database monitors the extent of discrimination countrywide.

Past Projects

In the project Training as a Vehicle to Employment, 2006-2007, funded by the European Union, ILI and Independent Living organizations from 8 European countries worked with government agencies in a dozen European countries to ensure that their trainee and internship programs were also open to qualified people with disabilities.

The database Vacation Home Exchange had objects from around the world enabling people with extensive disabilities to swap their homes for vacation purposes. The Personal Assistant Referral service matched assistance users and prospective assistants for visits and travel abroad.  These services were in use from around 1998  to 2005.

Project Radio Independent Living, 2004-2006, funded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) produced audio documentaries and commentaries on Independent Living issues, such as de-institutionalization, disability culture, sexuality and identity for online listening.

In project European Center for Excellence on Personal Assistance, ECEPA, 2004, a project funded by the European Union, ILI and Independent Living organizations from 7 European countries developed, among other things, a “Model National Personal Assistance Policy", coordinated and edited by ILI, and translated into a number of languages.

Study and Work Abroad for All, 2003-2005, a project funded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) compiled information about over 1,100 universities and NGOs accepting persons with disabilities as students and trainees, respectively in over 60 countries.

In project Contributing to Equality through Independent Living (CEIL), 2002-2003 we were part of an international consortium of organizations that disseminated, with support from the European Union, examples of good practice in the field of Independent Living for disabled and older people to Southern Europe.

Taxi for All, 2001-2003, a pilot project in Stockholm County, funded by the Stockholm County and VINNOVA tested whether a taxi-based system - at the same costs to taxpayers - can offer better mobility, flexibility and self-determination than the County’s present special transportation system for mobility impaired people. Taxi for All  is an outgrowth of ILI’s work in the Slovak Republic.

In KARMA, Knowledge and Augmented Reality Management Assistance, 2001-2003, a European Union Fifth Framework project, ILI joined an international consortium that developed a marketable product including hardware, software and interface with the healthcare system to assist families with brain-injured children to avoid hospitalization periods.

In project Personal Assistance Network, 1998-2000, with funding from the European Union and the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) ILI compiled a virtual library with legal texts, training manuals for assistance users, international examples of assistance delivery schemes, etc and developed interactive services, for example the first online assistant referral in Sweden. Read the English summary of the final project report here.

In 1997-1998 under contract by the European Union PHARE program and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Slovak Republic ILI designed and implemented a pilot project for personal assistance with direct payment following the STIL model as well as a pilot project for a mainstream accessible taxi system including a subsidy scheme for disabled patrons.  

ILI can look back to a long experience with projects that promote self-determination in every-day life for persons with extensive disabilities, in particular, personal assistance users. In the 1980s the Institute's Director took the initiative to STIL, the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, which developed the first user-run assistance cooperative in Europe and became the model for the Swedish Personal Assistance Act of 1994 (LASS).


We are a not-for-profit private foundation run and controlled by persons with disabilities. With roots in the Swedish and international Independent Living movement the Institute is a duly Swedish registered not-for-profit foundation. The majority of our employees has a disability.

The following persons serve on the board:

Kalle Könkkölä, Helsinki CIL, Finland, kalle.konkkola@kynnys.fi
Kapka Panayotova, CIL Sofia, Bulgaria, kapkap@mail.orbitel.bg
Adolf Ratzka, ILI, Sweden, chair, admin@independentliving.org
Jamie Bolling, ENIL Ireland/Sweden, jamie.bolling@enil.eu

Susanne Berg, STIL, Sweden 


In 1989, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, over 80 persons with extensive disabilities participated in a 3-day conference on personal assistance and founded ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living.Two of the Independent Living grassroots organizations represented at the Strasbourg meeting, STIL, the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, and GIL, the Gothenburg Independent Living coop, together founded the Institute on Independent Living 1993 (the name was changed to Independent Living Institute in May 2003) with the purpose of spreading the Independent Living philosophy and approach within Sweden and internationally. In 2008 Independent Living celebrated its first twenty-five years in Sweden with a two days conference.




Adolf Ratzka, Director

Curriculum Vitae

Adolf Ratzka, Director



Susanne Berg, Project leader Fashion Freaks

More »

Susanne Berg

Linda Robertsson, Office manager


 Emil Erdtman, Journalist and project communicator for Med lagen som verktyg/The law as a Tool emil@independentliving.org



Kenneth Westberg, Journalist and project leader for Assistanskoll




Algren Morgan, Assistanskoll




Philip Day, Programmer




Cecilia Andersson, Project leader for PA-tips 


Johanna Andersson, PA-tips




Erik Tillander, PA-tips




Sebastian Ferrer, Consultant

At MyRight from 2008.


Finn Hellman, Consultant


Miles Goldstick, Consultant



What You Can Do To Support Us

Donate your time. Contact Adolf Ratzka.