The Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired.
The Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired, SRF, is the main Swedish organisation of the blind and partially sighted. It is a social movement organisation with a broad participation of its constituency, and not only a professional NGO. It is run by the visually impaired themselves.
The aim of SRF is to work for a society for all. Blind or partially sighted should be able to take part in society as equals.
The work of SRF is divided into two branches: safeguarding of interests, and managing co-operative activities.
The commitment of those it concerns is the only guarantee of success. Only the visually impaired are genuinely interested in improvements for the visually impaired. These are fields SRF is particularly engaged in:
- meeting, discussion and social activities in the 170 local branches,
- studies for newly blinded to overcome their insecurity,
- leadership training,
- meeting of parents of visually impaired children to exchange experiences,
- individual consulting about rights and services,
- initiatives on new kinds of services.
Safeguarding of intererests
Creating a just society is the responsibility of all. Keeping state, municipal authorities and business to their responsibility is the other branch of SRF activity, where SRF has the advantage of a country-wide coverage. Fields given priority are:
- guarding against discrimination of disabled people,
- rehabilitation and compensatory training of newly blinded people,
- vocational training and changing of attitudes to give unemployed visually impaired people a fair chance,
- giving visually impaired people access to new information techniques,
- defending a general welfare system that covers all citizens.
SRF takes part in two kinds of international activities.
First, there is co-operation between national associations within the World Blind Union [external website]. There is a constant exchange of ideas, and there is also co-operation between national associations for influencing international authorities like the UN and the EU. SRF has particularly been engaged in bringing the case of women to the fore.
Second, there is material and personal support for organising efforts in poor countries, aiming at building strong national organisations of the visually impaired.
In a globalising world these and other kinds of inter-people co-operation grow more and more important.
SRF is a national association with about 15.000 members, 170 local branches and 24 regional affiliates. 250 officers/secretaries work for the organisation, about half of which are visually impaired themselves.
Since most visually impaired people are elderly there is also a youth organisation linked to SRF: The Swedish Association of Visually Impaired Youth [external website]
SRF was established in 1889.
SRF is financed partly through fees, partly through public funds, and partly through a business group, Iris [external website].