Sjálfsbjörg, the Icelandic federation of physically disabled people
Sjálfsbjörg (literally “self-help”) is a national federation of physically disabled people in Iceland. The federation´s origins can be traced back to the first Sjálfsbjörg society (chapter), which was founded in 1958 in Siglufjörður, north of Iceland. The national federation was then established a year later on June 4th 1959. At the initial meeting in 1959, there were five member chapters, today there are 12 local Sjálfsbjörg chapters all over Iceland. The goal of Sjálfsbjörg is to fight for the equality of physically disabled people in Iceland and to inform the public about the circumstances of physically disabled people. To this end, Sjálfsbjörg seeks the support and understanding from the state, municipalities, various interest groups, and individuals in Iceland. In spite of many kinds of improvement to the benefit of disabled people over the years, there is still a long way to go to reach equality. There are nearly 2000 members of Sjálfsbjörg.
Between 1966-79 Sjálfsbjörg financed the construction of Sjálfsbjargarhúsið (the house of Sjálfsbjörg). It is located at Hátún 12, 105 Reykjavik and was initially designed as a residence for physically disabled people with full time health service. It started operation in 1973 and was a major achievement for disabled people in Iceland. Today there live 45 disabled persons most of them in their individual small apartment receiving daily service from the centers staff. Also is a rehabilitation day center where 60 physically disabled persons stay half a day or full day. Attached to it is a swimming-pool, Sjálfsbjargarhúsið also houses the offices office of the national fereration along with the office of our local chapter of Sjálfsbjörg.
Sjálfsbjörg also operates an Knowledge Centre for physically disabled people, Þekkingarmiðstöð Sjálfsbjargar. On their homepage you can for example find information in English for disabled people who travel to Iceland.
Sjálfsbjörg also operates a Mobility equipment renting (started early 2017) named Hjálpartækjaleiga Sjálfsbjargar. There one can rent various equipment for mobile disabled persons, first and foremost wheelchairs and walkers. Please visit their website: www.hjalpartaeki.is
The opening hours of Sjálfsbjörg are Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 12:00 and 13.00 – 15:00 (GMT)
Tel. +354 5500 360