About Throskahjálp


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We are a
human rights








We base all our work on internationally accepted human rights agreements, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, we always link our projects to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our golden rule is to focus first on those whose voices are least likely to be heard.

Those we work with and for include persons with intellectual disabilities, autism, and related impairments, all children with disabilities, and immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees with disabilities.

We believe that respect for human rights is not a solely political or administrative task.

Agreements, policies, laws, and regulations are necessary, but not sufficient to secure equal rights and opportunities.  Inclusion is a vital component of human rights, and education, knowledge, and representation are key to inclusion. 



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Human Rights

Main characteristics:

Human rights are universal.
They apply equally to all people everywhere in the world, and with no time limit.
Every individual is entitled to enjoy human rights without distinction.

Human rights are inalienable.
Even those who do not, for some reason, enjoy their human rights, still have them.
Because human rights are linked to the very fact of human existence, they are inherent to all human beings.

Human rights are indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated.
All human rights, political, civil, economic, social, and cultural, are intrinsically connected and cannot be viewed in isolation from each other. The enjoyment of one right depends on the enjoyment of many other rights.


Human rights and disability

Even if human rights are universal and apply to everybody, human rights are not equally respected or enjoyed.

Persons with disabilities have historically been excluded from many fundamental human rights.

Respect for rights is key to equality and equal opportunities so the consequences are systemic discrimination against persons with disabilities.


The UN Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities – CRPD

The CRPD was created to reverse systematic discrimination and exclusion of persons with disabilities. It does not entail any new rights but simply states that we should all enjoy the same fundamental rights, without distinction based on disability or any other reason.

The rights protected in the CRPD include the right to life, dignity, autonomy, and freedom. It states that persons with disabilities have the same right as anybody else to education, work, and family life. It also emphasizes the right to equal participation, access to justice, access to information, and the appropriate support to be a full and valid member of society. These are examples of the rights that the convention emphasises, but there are many more.

What is new in the convention, however, is the acknowledgment of disability as a normal part of human diversity and the recognition that disability is created in the interaction between impairments and external barriers that prevent effective participation in a society that is not created with diverse needs and abilities in mind.


The CRPD defines disability as follows:

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.


Policies, laws, and human rights agreements
are important – but not sufficient to ensure rights.

Human rights are often defined in international agreements and then enshrined in policies, laws, and regulations in individual countries. However, this is not sufficient to guarantee respect and fulfillment of human rights.

There is another dimension to it – inclusion. To enjoy our rights, there needs to be a consensus in society that our human rights matter equally and that we should all have equal opportunities and the necessary means to live a dignified life.


Inclusion is a manifestation of human rights.

Inclusion means dismantling discrimination, and discrimination means disrespecting human rights.

Inclusion is thus bound up with human rights.
Inclusive societies respect diverse needs and abilities, in addition to human rights, and enable everyone's full inclusion and participation, regardless of disability or any other arbitrary factors.



Inclusion is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be or have been, excluded or marginalised.

In practise, inclusion is a communal task to actively respect human rights, based on the common understanding that everybody, without exceptions, matters. Inclusion takes place in relationships and interactions between people in the context of a community.


Shared responsibility.

Human rights are universal, inalienable, and interrelated.

They apply to everybody, anywhere at any time, and that makes them everybody’s business.
Governments and legislators play an important role, but the whole community needs to contribute by consenting to respect rights and equal opportunities.

Human rights and inclusion are about life itself; it is about how people interact and what they do in their daily lives in everyday situations.

Persons with disabilities have the same human rights as anybody else and that makes disability rights everybody’s business.


Growing demand for inclusion.

Societies around the world are becoming increasingly diverse and the demand for inclusion has never been stronger.
The fairness and cohesion of our communities depend on it.

Disability is a part of human diversity and should be taken into full consideration in diversity management aiming at inclusion.


Threats to inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The CRPD is a relatively new agreement and unfortunately not very well known. The outdated view of disability as a flaw or health problem, rather than a normal part of human diversity, is persistent.

This sometimes serves as a justification for discrimination, often accompanied by the underlying idea that persons with disabilities lack the ability to be full and valid members of society (in a different way from, say an immigrant or a person belonging to a religious minority) and therefore they can’t hold the same human rights as others and cannot participate in society to the same extent as others.

This has resulted in two tired discussions about inclusion:

On one hand, there is a discussion about inclusion for persons with disabilities that usually takes place separately amongst legislators, local and national governments, and those responsible for disability-related services and policy implementation.

On the other hand, there is a mainstream discussion on inclusion as a tool for social cohesion, equal opportunities, equal participation, and preservation of democracy. This is an ongoing dialogue between different sectors and circles around origin, ethnicity, education, language skills, sexual orientation, etc.

Both discussions are very important, but they need to be joined because inclusion is always dependent on the same basic principles and awareness, regardless of grounds of exclusion.

It is always about changing circumstances – not people.
Because everybody has the same human rights, everybody should be included in discussions and plans about how we can build societies where diverse groups of people can flourish together on their own terms.




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Consultation and advocacy:

Throskahjalp focuses on being proactive in consultation, advocacy, and monitoring of the rights of persons with disabilities.

We support persons with intellectual disabilities, autism, and related impairments to be self-advocates because they know best what needs to change and how. We talk to policymakers, national and local authorities, ministries, political parties, members of parliament, and service providers. We also facilitate media coverage when necessary to draw attention to shortcomings in fulfilling rights and meeting needs.



Throskahjalp wants to change the tendency to talk about the inclusion of persons with disabilities separately from other minority groups.

We proactively seek dialogues with different sectors to raise awareness. Inclusion is a communal task, and we need to work together as a community to bring about change.

It is our experience that people with disabilities are seldom deliberately excluded — but when their rights, needs, and challenges are unknown, exclusion and/or discrimination are inescapable.

Simply by sharing insights and information, a lot can be accomplished.

Those we collaborate with include:


The Business Sector
Because we need more businesses to hire people with disabilities and understand that they have the potential to bring value to the workplace. We have an ongoing dialogue with The Confederation of Business, The Association of Business Managers, and Empower Now — a University of Reykjavík company developing a software solution for diversity management in the workplace.
Secondary schools
Because it is important to continue to develop educational opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities and related impairments, to ensure their future opportunities for further education and employment.
Because we need to create more education opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, autism, and related impairments, and we also need to educate students about the importance of knowing the rights and needs of persons with disabilities to create a just society and fulfil the duties placed upon us by the CRPD.
The Tech Industry

Because technology can be a vehicle for inclusion, but it can also further marginalise some persons with disabilities if we don't take the rights, needs, and abilities of everybody into consideration when technology is developed and implemented.

We already have serious examples of this, and it needs to be reversed. Now!

The National Police

Because it is a sad truth that persons with disabilities, adults, and children, are more likely than other groups to be victims of violence, sexual, physical, and mental, and may have different needs for protection and support from non-disabled people in such circumstances.

In collaboration with the police, we discuss topics such as violence related to persons with disabilities, communication with persons with disabilities, reasonable accommodation, access to justice, and more.

The Office of Equality

Because inclusion, human rights, and the opportunity to fully participate in society are issues of equality.

Þroskahjálp collaborated with the Office of Equality on raising awareness of micro-aggression and prejudices persons with disabilities experience in their daily lives.

The campaign, which took place on Instagram, was called Harmless? and shed light on comments and attitudes that may seem harmless but have negative effects when people experience them repeatedly.

Immigration Authorities
Because the CRPD has relevance when it comes to processing applications for international protection submitted by persons with disabilities, in addition to relevant laws and regulations on immigration.
Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management
Because the needs and rights of persons with disabilities should be taken into full consideration in all emergency planning and responses, including climate change-related events, pandemics, and natural disasters.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of Development
Because the CRPD insists that international cooperation, including international development programmes, should be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.



Training in Virtual Reality
Throskahjalp teamed up with the Virtual Dream Foundation to create four VRs to help persons with disabilities feel more at ease in new, intimidating circumstances. In virtual reality, it is possible to go through authentic experiences in the comfort of your own home or another familiar place. The four VRs that have been created so far are about using public transport, voting in democratic elections, going to summer camp, and seeking help after being a victim of sexual abuse.

The project aims to empower the user, increase independence, and expand worlds of experience and participation.

See more about the project (in Icelandic) here: https://www.audlesid.is/syndarveruleiki


Centre for Easy-to-read Language:

To be a full and valid member of society and make informed life choices, it is key to have access to appropriate information.

The Centre for Easy-to-read Language, hosted by Throskahjalp, rewrites texts and information, for example from institutions and companies, educational and teaching material, to easy-to-read language.

Throskahjalp is also in the continuous process of creating a word bank consisting of various words and concepts explained in Easy-to-read language. The latest addition to this project is created for Instagram where things like electronic ID, LGBTQ concepts, and various other words are explained.

The Centre for Easy-to-read language proved vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in explaining the war in Ukraine to persons with intellectual disability.

Centre for Easy-to-read Language (in Icelandic): https://www.audlesid.is/


Health Education and Sports:

Every person should have equal access to health and sports.

Throskahjalp offers health education to persons with disabilities and facilitates access to resources available to improve health, both mental and physical.

Throskahjalp also produces learning material about various health-related topics, such as sleep and rest, nutrition, exercise, and healthy use of technology. This facilitates learning and empowers persons with disabilities to take important and positive steps towards a more healthy lifestyle.

Throskahjalp works with the sports movement to create inclusive opportunities for everybody. That includes advice on reasonable accommodation and how the sports environment needs to change to be truly inclusive.



Þroskahjálp runs a special Housing Fund that builds and buys apartments that are rented to persons with disabilities.
The goal of the fund is to pave the way for local authorities to meet their legal obligations to provide suitable housing at affordable prices, better and sooner. The Housing Fund currently owns and operates around 90 apartments in several locations in the country.

Throskahjalp also operates an apartment in the capital area where families with children with disabilities from around the country can stay, free of charge, when they need to access services in the capital area, e.g., specialist doctors or the Counselling and diagnostic centre.

Throskahjalp owns a summer house about an hour's drive from the city of Reykjavík. The house has five rooms and is fully equipped for persons with disabilities. It is rented out, at a very affordable price, all year around to facilitate access to a place to visit during summer or to spend quality time with family and friends away from the hustle of everyday life.


Collaboration across land and sea:

Human rights are universal and that means that our advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities is not limited by national boundaries.

Throskahjalp works with a sister organisation in Malawi, FEDOMA (The Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi), to support children with disabilities and their mothers in the Mangochi district.
We also work together to raise awareness about the rights and abilities of persons with disabilities both in Malawi and Iceland.

Throskahjalp is a member of Eurochild because we believe that when we work together, we accomplish more.

Throskahjalp is a member of EASPD — the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities. EASPD promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities through effective and high-quality service systems.

Throskahjalp is a member of Inclusion Nordic, Inclusion Europe, and Inclusion International.

Read about the Malawi project (in Icelandic) here: https://www.audlesid.is/malawi



The Children’s Assembly.

Throskahjalp supports children with disabilities to participate in the biannual Children’s Assembly, organised by the Ombudsman for Children.

It is of utter importance that children with disabilities participate in the event with appropriate support to make sure that their voices are heard, and their views and experiences taken into consideration

Advocates for Children’s Rights in Parliament.

Throskahjalp collaborated with eight other organisations, all working on the well-being of children, to launch a project called Advocates for Children’s Rights in Parliament. Representatives from all political parties in parliament have nominated advocates who were informed, by children, about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the challenges children feel most important to work on in our community. The advocates are our links to Parliament, and we and the children serve as experts whom Parliament can turn to for information and insight on matters related to the well-being of children.

Throskahjalp Youth Council.

The objective is to empower young people with Intellectual disabilities, autism, and related impairments to be self-advocates, serve on the Throskahjalp board of specialists, and create a venue for consultancy (as commanded by the UNCRPD) with local and national government on issues concerning the interests of young people with disability.

Digital Information Centre for (immigrant) families.

Throskahjalp is working on a digital information centre for families with children with disabilities.
It is of great concern that immigrant families often lack access to vital information and the support they need and are entitled to.

Even if the project is specifically aimed at support for immigrant families it will benefit all families, as the information material is in Icelandic as well as other languages.

Videos about the Rights of Children with Disabilities, in five languages.

Throskahjalp has made three animated videos about the rights of children with disabilities, in five languages.

In addition, three other videos were made for adult immigrants with disabilities, about support services, rights to education and employment, and where to turn if support enshrined in laws is not provided.

Click here to see the videos.



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