Independent Living Institute (ILI)

ILI promotes the self-determination of people with disabilities.

The Independent Living Institute (ILI) works to promote opportunities for individuals with disabilities for more personal and political power, self-determination, full participation and equality through information, education, lobby and project activities.

What is Independent Living

Independent Living is a philosophy and a movement of people with disabilities who work for self-determination, equal opportunities and self-respect. Independent Living does not mean that we want to do everything by ourselves and do not need anybody or that we want to live in isolation. Independent Living means that we demand the same choices and control in our every-day lives that our non-disabled brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends take for granted. We want to grow up in our families, go to the neighborhood school, use the same bus as our neighbors, work in jobs that are in line with our education and interests, and start families of our own.

Since we are the best experts on our needs, we need to show the solutions we want, need to be in charge of our lives, think and speak for ourselves - just as everybody else. To this end we must support and learn from each other, organize ourselves and work for political changes that lead to the legal protection of our human and civil rights.

We are profoundly ordinary people sharing the same need to feel included, recognized and loved.

As long as we regard our disabilities as tragedies, we will be pitied.
As long as we feel ashamed of who we are, our lives will be regarded as useless.
As long as we remain silent, we will be told by others what to do.

Adolf Ratzka 2005

Commemorating Philip Mason, MBE

Philip Mason has left us at the age of 81.

Philip had an important role in the British and European Independent Living Movement. He served on the ILI Board from ILI’s beginnings until he resigned in 2005 to be able to concentrate more on local issues.

Before he joined the ILI Board, Philip had worked at the local and national level in Britain with Project ’81 together with John Evans, Philip Scott, Tad Polkowski and Liz Briggs. These young adults were based in the Cheshire Home in Hampshire and wanted to get out and live in the community. They raised public awareness about the enormous waste of human capital by society that forces people into institutions only because they need assistance with the activities of daily living. The team looked abroad, mainly to the US where John Evans was studying Centers for Independent Living. They traveled and lectured in the UK and abroad.

I met Philip, together with John, at a conference in Munich in 1982. Since then, he was an important teacher for me with his clear, concise vision and unwavering insistence on the basic principles of our movement. I was always impressed by his analysis and pragmatism in his speeches at ENIL gatherings. Some of his writings are published in the ILI Library.

Most of all, I remember Philip’s wit, his warm, genuine smile, and his cordial attention which he focused on people. We lost a fine and kind human being.

Adolf Ratzka

Chair, Board of Independent Living Institute

September 2022  

Independent Living Institute projects and websites

disabled refugees welcome logotyp

Disabled Refugees Welcome (DRW) - the right to work and mutual integration. 

Mutual Integration and the Right to Work (RTA) is a project run by the Independent Living Institute (ILI) and funded by the Swedish inheritance Fund.

The project is intended to build on the experiences from ILI's previous project Disabled Refugees Welcome, DRW, (2017-2020). Just as in DRW, RTA wants to contribute to an improvement of the integration process for migrants with disabilities, but in RTA access to work is in focus.

Logotyp: Assistanskoll (Till

Assistanskoll is a busy website providing news, facts and numbers, analysis and advice to assistance users, their families and assistants in the selection of assistance providers. Assistanskoll keeps the public up to date with changes in legislation, case law and market developments.


Disability Rights Defenders (DRD) is a network of individuals and organizations with an interest in disability rights and disability law. The purpose of the network is equal rights and access to justice. We promote this by spreading and deepening legal expertise about disability rights among disabled people, disabled people’s organizations, lawyers and law schools for reciprocal empowerment by sharing knowledge and expertise on how to use the law as a tool. Read more about DRD and how to become part of it here.. logotype

The Disability Discrimination Reporting Service (Anmälningstjänsten)

Anmälningstjänsten helps individuals and organizations to report cases of discrimination to the Equality Ombudsman and, when appropriate, the respective municipal building authority. The service has been running for 20 years.

Completed projects (after 2010)

Artikel 19 och lagen som verktyg logotyp

Article 19 as a tool

Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is about everyone's right to a self-determined life in the community regardless of functionality. The project disseminates knowledge of the convention, examines the Swedish laws and the degree of implementation compared to the international commitments that follow from the convention. The website is The project was funded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund for three years and reuses the website from the Law as a Tool project (2016 - 2019) that raised awareness of disability discrimination and legal tools to prevent and redress discrimination.

Logotyp: patips (Till

Assistanstips (Personal Assistance Tips)

The PAtips website has tips, tricks and examples of assistance solutions developed by personal assistance users in Sweden and their assistants.

Fashion Freaks

Fashion Freaks, the website, is a wardrobe full of adapted basic patterns, sewing and knitting instructions, descriptions about customizing ready-made clothing and much more - all to suit wheelchair users. (2005-2007 and 2010 – 2015)