Biography of Ed Roberts and worldwide list of Independent Living Centers

Meet Buddy Bougere from New Orleans, USA. He is writing a biography on disability pioneer Ed Roberts and is working on a worldwide list of Independent Living Centers. Read all about it and help Buddy Bougere with completing his list.

961 Independent Living Centers In 37 Countries

by Buddy Bougere

© Copyright by Walter “Buddy” Bougere 2011. All rights reserved.

This is for private, personal, noncommercial use only.


Buddy Bougere

Buddy Bougere

I am a disabled writer who has published 102 things, most of these since becoming disabled. I have been the primary caretaker of my mother who is 92 and has had Alzheimer’s for 14 years. I have lived with her for a decade. I am writing a biography called “Ed Roberts: Disability Pioneer” which comes out this fall. Ed Roberts, who was a quadriplegic, cofounded the independent living movement in 1970 and the world’s first independent living center in 1972. The book has a good summary of world disability history, over 50 videos and web sites where we as disabled people speak for ourselves, and the first biography of a pivotal disability civil rights figure. It also gives a site where you can read 170 pages of Ed Roberts in his own words and one with words from 100 other disability pioneers who founded the independent living movement.


All independent living centers in Canada, the United States, and most of the centers I name are run by disabled people; that is, a majority sitting on the nonprofit’s board are disabled. They may offer many services to disabled individuals, but these are often the basic four core services:

  • information and referral
  • independent living skills training
  • peer counseling
  • advocacy

Some very small countries may not offer these four, but are offering other most helpful independent living services and so are included.

I spent a total of three months full time corresponding with disabled individuals in different parts of the world trying to locate as many independent living centers as I could. Below is the list of what I have been able to find to date in 2011, although my work has just scratched the surface. I talked to top people in many countries and have come to the conclusion that no single person or group knows where all the centers are.

This list of world independent living centers forms a chapter in my book. Right after I give the country’s name, I mention the number of independent living centers I have located in that country so far. For example, Afghanistan has one and Austria has four.

  • Afghanistan, 1 (Kabul)
  • Austria, 4 (Innsbruck, Linz, Dornbirn, Wien/Vienna). Contact info
  • Bangladesh, 1 (Dhaka)
  • Belgium, 2 (Ghent, Dour)
  • Brazil, 2 (Rio de Janeiro, Bahia)
  • Bulgaria, 1 (Sofia)
  • Canada, 27 (Duncan, Richmond, Vernon, Victoria, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Alfred, Collingwood, Kapuskasing, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Parry Sound, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Trois Pistoles, Val d’Or, Miramichi, Shippagan, Halifax, St. John’s). Contact info
  • Costa Rica, 1 (Pérez Zeledon)
  • Croatia, 2 (Zagreb, Hrvatske)
  • Cyprus, 1 (Lemesos)
  • Estonia, 1 (Tallinn)
  • Finland, 1 (Helsinki)
  • France, 4 (Paris, Strasbourg, Rennes, Poitiers)
  • Germany, 6 (Mainz, Frankfurt/Oder, Kassel, Bremen, Bad Kreuznach, Munich, Berlin)
  • Greece, 2 (Athens, Drama)
  • Ireland, 24. This number includes one of the four centers in Northern Ireland: Belfast. (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Longford, Galway, Dublin, Cork, Blanchardstown, Carlow, Kilkenny, Gorey, Wexford, Waterford, Tullamore, Ennis, Borrisokane, Clonmel, Thurles, Newcastlewest, Kinnegad, Belfast)
  • Israel, 1 (Jerusalem)
  • Italy, 4 (Rome, Piedmont, Como, Scandicci)
  • Japan, 127 (Tokyo (24), Fukuoka (4), Kumamoto (2), Miyazaki (2), Okinawa (2), Nagano (2), Shizuoka (5), Hiroshima (3), Fukushima (6), Ibaragi (3), Chiba (3), Kanagawa (3), Hyogo (7), Osaka (15), Shiga (2), Aichi (5), Saitama (3), Hokkaido (4), Aomori (2), Yamagata (3), Miyagi (2), and one each in Nagasaki, Saga, Oita, Kagoshima, Nigata, Gunma, Shimane, Tottori, Okayama, Ehime, Kouchi, Kagawa, Tokushima, Tochigi, Yamanashi, Kyoto, Wakayama, Fukui, Nara, Mie, Toyama, Gifu, Ishikawa, Akita, and Iwate)
  • Korea, 1 (Seoul)
  • Latvia, 1 (Riga)
  • Mexico, 1 (Oaxaca)
  • Montenegro, 1 (Nikšić)
  • Norway, 1 (Drammen)
  • Pakistan, 1 (Faisalabad)
  • Russia, 2 (Moscow, Novosibirsk)
  • Serbia, 8 (Belgrade, Jagodina, Novi Sad, and five others)
  • Slovenia, 1 (Ljubljana)
  • South Africa, 1 (Johannesburg)
  • Spain, 3 (Madrid, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela)
  • Sweden, 4 (Stockholm, Sundsvall, Varberg, Göteborg)
  • Switzerland, 1 (Zürich)
  • United Kingdom, 26:
    • England, 17 (London, Bristol, Borden/Hampshire, Milton Keynes, Ripley/Derbyshire, Kingston Upon Thames, Crewe/Cheshire, Billingham, Guildford/Surrey). Contact info for these centers in England, also for some in Scotland and Wales. Also in England, but not on above site: (Devizes/Wiltshire, Southampton, Dudley, Cornwall, Kent,Leeds, Hereford, Hull)
    • Scotland, 2 (Glasgow, Edinburgh/Lothian)
    • Wales, 3 (Pontypridd, Porthmadog, Gwalchmai/Anglesey)
    • Northern Ireland, 4 (Belfast, Armagh, Magherafelt, Omagh) Contact info.
  • United States, 699. Contact info. This includes all 50 states and centers in Washington D.C. and these territories:
    • American Samoa, 1 (Pago Pago)
    • Guam, 1 (Tamuning)
    • Northern Mariana Islands, 1 (Saipan).
    • Puerto Rico, 2 (San Juan, Ponce)
    • Virgin Islands, 2 (Christiansted/St. Croix, Charlotte Amalie/St. Thomas)

This ends my list. If you know of a country or city not mentioned above that has an independent living center, please send contact information for it and yourself to me at Put “World CIL” in the subject heading. Give the center’s web site when you know it. If you want to be told when my book is published, please put “Biography Date” in the subject heading. If you want to say both, please put both phrases in the subject heading. Write in English, if possible, as there is no money for translation. If you write in your own language, put the name of your country and your language, in that order, on separate lines at the top of the message.

I have these questions about this chapter for anyone reading this. Are there any other independent living centers you know of in Europe or elsewhere in the world that are not mentioned in this write-up? If there are more centers than I have named, can you give me contact information for them and also, most importantly, tell me the towns they are in? If there are any errors in fact in the chapter above, please let me know what they are. As long as the copyright notice, byline, and e-mail address stay attached to this piece, it can be forwarded anytime in 2011 to anyone who might be able to help with these questions.

The above chapter was written to help people find an independent living center near them, so people working in and using independent living centers can enjoy hearing about other centers, and so that we may take stock in how far we have come and be in contact with each other when we want to be.


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