Life Story — Personal Assistance Budget, Sweden

Read the life story of Adolf Ratzka

Dr. Adolf Ratzka encountered his disability as a result of contracting polio at the age of 17, and he has had to rely on personal assistance ever since. He imported the Independent Living movement to Sweden from the United States and founded the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, which was behind the introduction of the Swedish law that established the right to a personal assistance budget.

Dr. Ratzka says: “My assistants enable me to work. One of their most important functions is to accompany me on trips as head of the Independent Living Institute. Since my wife has her own work – she is an occupational therapist – we only travel together on vacations. And then too, I take an assistant along, since I want to have the same role within the family that I would have had without my disability. Money for the costs of the accompanying assistant’s airline tickets, hotel room, meals, etc., is part of the monthly payment from the Social Insurance Fund. Thus, I do not have to apply and fight for such expenses every time I travel.”

Find out more about the Swedish law that established the right to a personal assistance budget at:



Life Story of Dumitrita, Moldova

Life Story of Dumitriṭa of Moldova

“The 5 years I spent in an institution for children with disabilities in Moldova felt like an eternity. My name is Dumitria, I am a 14-year-old girl with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Support services didn’t exist where I lived and the mainstream school would not accept me. My family could not afford the education and care I needed so I was placed in an institution for children with disabilities.

This place was far from home which made family visits very difficult. In the institution I missed very much the love and care of my parents and sister. Being reunited with my family – thanks to Lumos’ support – was a dream come true.  For 2 years, I’ve been studying at the mainstream school close to my home. I feel part of the community. I am very happy living with my family who love and support me. I like my new school, I am doing well here and my friends and teachers understand me.

I am an advocate for inclusive education in our school’s participation group and speak out whenever I can. My dream is that all children with disabilities in Moldova can live with their families. I want to help other children to return home and give them confidence and hope for a better future.”


Find more details about this Innovative Practice on our website.


Logo Council Of Europe

21 May 2015 – Save the Date

The Council of Europe has been working on a Toolkit regarding Disability and Disaster Preparedness as a follow-up of their publication regarding Major Hazards and People with Disabilities of 2014. This Toolkit will be officially released during a one-day workshop at the Council of Europe Liaison Office in Brussels on the 21st of May 2015.

The detailed agenda is available on the website of the Council of Europe.


Life Story_Takumi Nagoya Japan

Life Story of Takumi Nagoya from Japan

Ms. Takumi Nagoya is a 52-year-old woman with Down syndrome. She consistently voted into her early twenties, until she was deprived of her right to vote because of the appointment of her father as her legal guardian. She went to court in order to regain her right to vote, with the strong support of her father who dramatically declared that he could not die while his daughter was deprived of her voting rights.

In 2013, when delivering the ruling that re-established Ms. Nagoya’s basic right to vote, Judge Makoto Jozuka concluded his decision with the encouraging words: “Please use your political rights and take part in society. Be proud and lead a good life.”

To read more about this specific Innovative Policy, click on this link.


Javed Abidi_Independent Living Video

New Zero Project Videos about Independent Living and Political Participation

Check out our YouTube channel to watch our most recent videos on Independent Living and Political Participation.

We asked our participants of the Zero Project Conference 2015 to explain in their own words what Independent Living and Political Participation means to them.


What is Independent Living for you?


What is Political Participation for you?


What does it mean to you?


BONUS Video! Did you know that the Zero Project received an Award from GAATES? Here is the reason why!


Zero Project team organized first informal consultation with the CRPD Committee

On 15th April we held our first informal consultation with the experts of the CRPD Committee and received member’s inputs and advice as to where best direct our research on inclusive education. The consultation was held in Palais Wilson, from 1:45-2:45pm Geneva time and captioning was provided via:

Here you see some impressions from the day:

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