Independent Living Institute (ILI) Annual Report 2006

Internet publication URL:

In English: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996

På svenska: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996

Independent Living Institute (ILI),
Annual Report 2006

Continuing Projects

Project Fashion Freaks develops fashionable clothing patterns for people with disabilities that can be downloaded from our website and adapted to individual needs by way of

  • a number of base patterns with instructions on how to adapt them to your individual measurements
  • information about useful materials and special products and where to find them
  • a databank with tips and solutions from other wheelchair users
  • a network of persons in the same situation for sharing questions and ideas

The project is supported by the Swedish National General Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden). Project coordinator is Susanne Berg, Meagan Whellans collaborates.

Disability Ombudsman Reporting Service  can result, within the limitations of current legislation, in measures against discriminating activities on the part of the Office of the Disability Ombudsman and the local government’s building permit board. The online service archives reports in an online searchable database. A person searching for “Forex Uppsala”, for example, on the web, for any purpose, will learn that the company’s Uppsala office discriminates against persons with disabilities through their inaccessible office. Over 1600 activities have been reported so far.

At the beginning of 2006 the final hundreds of reports were processed from the annual mass reporting action in connection with the annual national “March for Accessibility” (“Marschen för tillgänglighet”) in September of the previous year. During the year numerous changes and improvements have been implemented in the service, most notably, the possibility of sending reports about so-called “easily removable obstacles” directly to the relevant Building Permit Board, as the Office of the Disability Ombudsman no longer offers this service.

Since Hans Filipsson, initiator of the annual March  for Accessibility, runs the day-to –day operations of the Disability Ombudsman Reporting Service, ILI’s service is closely tied to this important annual event.

ILI’s homepage  continued to be the first among some 2 million results when searching in Google for the term “Independent Living” and attracted some 1,300 unique visitors daily on an average and keep receiving enthusiastic comments about the full-text virtual library and our other online services.

Another ongoing project is the international Personal Assistant Referral, whose purpose is to facilitate international travel for personal assistance users.

Accessible Vacation Exchange is also intended to promote travel for persons with extensive disabilities by facilitating home swapping when travelling.

Our full-text virtual library continues to be one of our most central services. We offer authors of such documents as scientific articles, reports, manuals and lectures on Independent Living and related themes a free, secure and sustainable method of archiving and disseminating their work in our accessible and searchable library. Due to the high Google Page Rank of 6 documents on our website get a high exposure. During the year the currently 850 documents in the library attracted a public of altogether 120,000 unique visitors.

The goal of the project Cash Payments for Assistive Products is to develop a feasible model for direct payments for assistive technology which would enable persons with disabilities to choose and purchase the products they need. In a first phase we compile and analyze examples of good practice and comparative studies about similar systems existing in other countries. The project is coordinated byPetra Jonsson who works as a part-time volunteer.

Projects Started During the Year

Training as Vehicle to Employment, is a transnational partnership project with ILI as lead partner and 8 Centers for Independent Living in Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain and Greece. The two-year project started in January 2006 and is financed by the European Commission under grant agreement VS/2005/0673 and STIL, the Stockholm  Cooperative for Independent Living.

The project aims at improving disabled people’s opportunities to enter the labour market by creating national networks of human resources manager and related administrators, persons in charge of labour market issues at ministries, labour market authorities, trade unions, disability organisations as well as persons with disabilities. The national networks are to influence state agencies to improve the general accessibility of their organisations’ working environment and to develop specific policies and action plans for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their traineeship and internship programs.

Projects Finished During the Year

Radio Independent Living  was a pilot project using the internet’s cost-efficient technology for broadcasting so-called streaming audio   that produced several dozens of 39 min audio documentaries.. Among the project’s themes are de-institutionalization, self-determination, civil rights, legislation as an instrument for social change, cultural identity and identification. The programs, most of them in Swedish, consist of documentation of historic developments, reflections, innovative projects and policies within and outside of Sweden. The project was financed by the Swedish General Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden), project coordinator was Susanne Berg.  A number of freelancing journalists collaborated.

Invitations to join project applications

Our partnership was requested for participation in European Union grant applications or for other cooperation by

  • the PARTICIPATE project which planned to develop a questionnaire about the obstacles that people with disabilities meet in participating in society. ILI declined.
  • IBF International Consultings for partnership in their bid for a contract in Serbia “Feasibility Study on Employment and Professional Rehabilitation of PWD”.  ILI declined.
  • an Austrian film project about Independent Living. ILI joined.

Invitation to join editorial board

On November 6 Adolf Ratzka was invited to serve on the editorial board of “Disability and Society”.

Participation in events

  • March 28-31 Belgrade, Serbia as lecturer and workshop facilitator for CIL Serbia in its training seminar “Spreading Independent Living in South Eastern Europe”
  • May 5  Vienna, Austria national conference on personal assistance policy organized by WAG, Viennese Cooperative for Personal Assistance
  • November 2-4  Valencia, Spain as lecturer and workshop facilitator at the ENIL conference
  • November 20-21 Bremen, Germany as lecturer at the conference “Visions for 2020” organized by Interessenvertretung Selbstbestimmt Leben Deutschland (the umbrella organization of the German Independent Living Movement)
  • ILI also participated in lectures for students of Occupational Therapy at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm on several occasions throughout the academic year.

Invitations we could not follow

  • October 17-20 Belo Horizonte, Brazil for the keynote address at the IV International Seminar on the Inclusive Society organized by the Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil (PUC Minas)
  • September 15-18 Zagreb, Croatia as plenary lecturer and workshop facilitator at the seminar on Independent Living and personal assistance
  • December 4 Würzburg, Germany as participant in the panel discussion about “Livng in Society’s Future Accessible Cities” organized by the CIL Würzburg.
  • October 18-20 Strasbourg, France as lecturer at the “European Conference on Employment in Public Administration”



  • January 24 about imposing universal design conditions in public procurement contracts published on the Umbrella Project website
  • February 20 together with Karin Westerlund, DHR about quota systems as labor market policy instrument by radio program “Livskraft”  Swedish Public Radio
  • June 21 for an article in the journal of the Norwegian Disability Association about the Norwegian Independent Living Movement and Adolf Ratzka’s roll in it
  • July 10  Prof Lotta Holme, Linköping University as part of her project on Aging with Disability
  • August 23 Johan Bergendorff for program ”Parents” (“Föräldrarna”) Swedish Public Radio for a feature on parenthood and disability for Swedish Radio’s week of programming ”Benevolent Apartheid”  (”Välviljans apartheid”). Broadcast August 28.
  • October 18 Journal Socionomen (Journal of Social Work) about the background of the Personal Assistance Act of 1994

Study visits at ILI

  • May 13 participants in the “25th mission of the International Transit Studies Program” consisting of representatives of the US public transportation industry and US regulatory agencies and lawmakers met with ILI representatives.
  • May 16 civil servants, service providers, politicians from several German states as part of their study tour organized by Deutscher Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, Berlin
  • May 29  three Swiss Members of Parliament from the Social Democratic Party
  • June 9 several professors and Ph. D. students in Social Welfare and Special Education together with several civil servants and politicians from the German state of Baden-Württemberg
  • June 14 Ms. Karin Evers-Meyer, the German Disability Ombudsman and MP at the federal level, with a number of MPs at the federal level and representatives of the German Independent Living Movement
  • October 15 two instructors and some 20 students with and without disabilities from many different European and non-European countries studying at Folk University (folkhögskola) Egmont near Århus, Denmark

Other contacts

Inquiries and requests from around the world for information regarding disability issues, research, publications, referral to resource persons and other contacts as well as for comments on planned projects continue to be an interesting and important part of our activities for which we currently have no budget for.

ILI staff

Susanne Berg continued in her capacity as part-time project coordinator of Fashion Freaks. Philip Day worked part-time with projects Assistanskoll, Disability Reporting Service (HO anmälningstjänst), Training as Vehicle to Employment, Fashion Freaks and maintained other catalogues on our website. Within his time at ILI he also did programming work for project Sebastian Ferrer took over parts of ILI’s economic administration on a volunteer basis and served as one of ILI*s legal representatives with the right to sign on behalf of the organization. Hans Filipsson was responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Disability Ombudsman Reporting Service. Miles Goldstick continued to maintain the technical aspects of our website on a part-time basis. Finn Hellman worked part-time for part of the year with project Radio Independent Living. Veronica Johansson worked half-time for part of the year on a trial base with ILI’s administration and bookkeeping. Petra Jonsson started as part-time volunteer with project Cash Payments for Assistive Products. Petra received her law degree in Germany and had worked for the Center of Independent Living in Toronto and Zürich prior to relocating to Stockholm. Adolf Ratzka continued as director on a part-time basis. Anne Rentzsch and Sybille Neveling worked part-time for project Radio Independent Living. Nicoletta Zoannosworked full-time coordinating both the international partnership and the Swedish part of project Training as Vehicle to Employment.


We gratefully acknowledge support from

  • STIL, Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, which offered us free office space and financial support for maintaining and improving our website, for financing smaller projects whose costs could not be covered any other way as well as for co-financing EU projects.
  • (Interoute) for their sponsor agreement covering web hosting and associated services.
  • Our most important financier is the Swedish General Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) that currently finances projects Radio Independent Living and Fashion Freaks
  • We also acknowledge project support from the European Commission DG V for supporting the major part of project Training as Vehicle to Employment (TVE), grant agreement VS/2005/0673.

ILI Board

At the Annual General Meeting on October 4 conducted by email, Kalle Könkkölä has agreed to succeed Rolf Bergfors who passed away in February. Rolf who together with Adolf Ratzka founded ILI had been on the Board since the beginning. He was a strong supporter and was keenly interested particularly in international issues. Kalle Könkkölä has been active in Finnish politics on the local, regional and national level, among other positions in Finnish Parliament for the Green Party. He has had and still has – it is very difficult to keep track of his many positions – leading functions in the disability movement on the national level (among other things as founder of Threshold, the Finnish counterpart to the Independent Living Movement) and on the international level (among other things as chairperson of Disabled People’s International). With one of his interests being international cooperation for development he currently chairs the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Disability and Development.

The Board of the Independent Living Institute

Bente Skansgård


Kapka Panayotova


Kalle Könkkölä


Adolf Ratzka

ili Project: