An Introduction to the Association and its Activities

An Introduction to the Association and its Activities

Support to Independency

Blindrafélagið – Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People in Iceland


What is Blindrafélagið?


Blindrafélagið, Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired (BIAVI), is a social force – a human rights oriented organization – that fights for independent, meaningful and responsible living conditions for blind and visually impaired people, and that they are secured equal rights and opportunities to responsible, active and acknowledged participation in all sectors of society.

Motto: Support to Independency.

BIAVI's Services

General Consultancy

The social department of BIAVI's office has a counsellor working to counsel and assist it's members. The counsellor welcomes new members and their families, informs them about the associations activities, as well as their lawful rights and demands for assistance. The National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind (hereafter referred to as “The Center”), is responsible for offering blind and visually impaired people social and psychological counseling. 

BIAVI's Travel Service

BIAVI's Travel Service is a service model that uses Taxis. BIAVI makes special deals with municipalities that, according to law about service to disabled people with long-term needs, are responsible for offering them “services neccessary for their equal participation in society, and needed to prevent their social isolation.”

BIAVI has made travel-service-deals with many municipalities regarding travel service for legally blind people. Deals have been made with a few muncipalities in rural Iceland about travel service for their legally blind inhabitants, while running their errands in the Reykjavík area. Requests for travel service should be made in the municipality where the applicant resides.

More information in BIAVI's office.


Guide Dogs

BIAVI strives to ensure that it's members have access to trained guide dogs. Guide dogs are immensely powerful help tools, and give their users a great sense of freedom and security. The user of a guide dog gets freedom to be mobile in his/her environment, regardless of being indoors or outside. The dogs guide their users around possible obstacles in their way. Guide dogs have also proven themselves to be good companions, and in many instances they have broken the chain of their users social isolation, and encouraged them to be more active socially. 


Rental Flats

In the BIAVI building, Hamrahlíð 17, 20 flats are for long-term rent to BIAVI members. It also runs two guest-apartments and one guest-room, for short-term rent to members and their families. One of these flats is also used as a rehabilitation flat. When a flat is free, it is advertised on BIAVI's media-sites. A special application committee considers applicants' social and economical circumstances and assigns the flat, incognito of the applicants name. The flats are not service-apartments. More information on


Telephone Service – 1818 and 1819 Information Service Line

Legally blind members of BIAVI who are in business with Síminn or Vodafone, are entitled to free calls to the information service line  1818 and 1819, as well as to free forward connection. Members can register a home number as well as a mobile number, but the mobile number cannot be on a prepaid plan. Any changes made to your telephone company's deal must be reported to BIAVI's office promptly, i.e. package-deals and/or discount deals. Also, if a member changes his phone company. If those are not reported, the service is no longer for free.



Dóra and Karl are Icelandic TTS-voices, built with finance from BIAVI. People who are blind, visually impaired, dyslectic or otherwise unable to read in a traditional way, are entitled to free use of the TTS-voices. The TTS-voices are distributed through BIAVI, the Center, and the Icelandic Audio Book Library. The Center's clients can request help to install the TTS. BIAVI members can contact the association directly. People who are dyslectic must require TTS from the Audio Book Library, preferably by email.


Confidentiality Representatives

BIAVI's confidentiality reps. are blind or visually impaired people who assist and advise other members. Their job is to provide mental support to those who have lost, or are losing their eyesight. In general they make two phone calls to each member annually, to discuss their circumstances and offer support.


A confidentiality rep. also informs members about their rights and special services for blind and visually impaired people. They are bound by a confidentiality oath regarding any information they may acquire in their conversations with members.

BIAVI - Social Life

BIAVI runs various social events, clubs and entertainment, well  attended by members.


AMD Department

AMD stands for Age Macular Degeneration, which is the single most common reason for blindness and serious visual impairment amongst older people.


Parents Department

The parents department is a venue for parents and children to get to know each other and form social networks. We aim to give parents/guardians of blind or visually impaired children support from each other.

Parents derive strengh from each other, as well as company and important information that help them tackle the multible tasks that face them, raising a blind or visually impaired child.

Multiple questions arise and often the parents of blind or visually impaired children have to deal with different problems and solutions than most other parents. In order not to get isolated, the best way is to build-up a powerful network of people in similar circumstances. 


Sectional Departments

BIAVI has three sectional departments, Norðurlandsdeild (northern Iceland), Suðurlandsdeild (southern Iceland) and Suðurnesjadeild (Reykjanes and surrounding area). More information: BIAVI's office and newsletter.


RP Department

The RP-department is a mutual venue for those who have been diagnosed with genetic degenerative diseases of the retina, such as AMD, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), LCA, Stargardt, Usher and more. The department's main objective is to keep up with, and inform, members and their families about the most recent and innovative science studies and experiments with the aim to find a cure for and/or rehabilitation of these diseases. It could be said that the RP-department is the association's science-venue.



Ungblind is the venue for young adults in BIAVI. It's main purpose is education, social activities, recreational events and peer support for members. Ungblind is for blind and visually impaired people 16-30 years old.


Ungblind initiates various events, such as going to restaurants, parties on BIAVI's premises and all kinds of education. Ungblind participates in international programs and co-operation, such as Nordic Summer Camps for blind and visually impaired young adults.


Open House

BIAVI hosts a scheduled social gathering, called Open House, every Tuesday and Thursday during winter, from 1PM – 3PM, in it's building at Hamrahlíð 17. The program consists of readings from books, storytelling, music performances and various other entertainment. Special hosts run the show, and invite good guests.  Every 6 or 8 weeks there is an Open House on Saturday from 11AM-2PM. Lunch and light refreshments are served and renowned guests visit and either give lectures or Stand-Up shows.

Members who have not attended Open House, but are interested in doing so, can contact the office, that will facilitate their visit. The office's phone is 525 0000. The Open House program can be found in BIAVI's weekly newsletter, and the events calendar on


Other departments and committees

BIAVI also runs active clubs, such as a Literature Club, Knitting Club, Entertainment Club, Hobby Club and a Travel and Hiking Club. We regularly have Bingo, Christmas Buffet, 'Þorri' Buffet, planned walks and Information Meetings. More detailed information can be found in the newsletter and events calendar on the website.


Running BIAVI requires keeping up various fundraising plans and programs, since 80-90% of the Associations financial needs draw from its own resources. It is mainly individuals who serve as BIAVI's supporters and sponsors. Among the biggest fundraising plans are search for supporters, selling lottery tickets, guide dogs calendars, BIAVI's magazine (Víðsjá) and Christmas Cards.

Anyone can sponsor BIAVI directly financially through it's bank account 0115-26-47017, ID-number (kt.) 470169-2149.

BIAVI's Media


A weekly e-mail:




Selected Articles (Valdar greinar):

A bi-weekly audio magazine


Narrated media for blind and visually impaired people; a gadget that uses internet connection and TTS-voices to access information and media content of their users own choice, for blind and visually impaired people - content that otherwise is largely inaccessible to those who are not especially computer-literate.


BIAVI's magazine, 2 editions annually. (every 6 months)


Grant Funds

BIAVI is in charge of four grant funds: Blind Children in Iceland, Support to Independence, the Margrét Jónsdóttir Fund and the Richard and Dóra fund.


Blind Children in Iceland

The fund's purpose is to financially aid blind and visually impaired children under 18 years of age to buy various things that can help them develop, exercise their skills and enrich their lives. These can be specially designed toys, games, musical instruments, computers and such, that the official government does not support parents to buy. Grants are allocated two times each year, in the spring and in the fall.


Support to Independence (STS), the grant fund of BIAVI and Friends of the Blind in Iceland.

The fund gives grants to BIAVI members to study at official schools and institutions, to buy assistive devices (help tools), and to various other projects that are not granted by official funds. Grants are allocated two times a year, in the spring and in the fall.


The Margrét Jónsdóttir Fund

The purpose is to fund parents/legal guardians of children up to 18 years old, that have been diagnosed blind or with serious eye diseases. The fund only supports projects or things that are not supported by social insurance, the municipalities social services or other official bodies.


The Richard and Dóra Fund

The purpose is to give financial aid to blind people between 16 and 25 years old, and/or to educate people to work with/for blind people and to prevent blindness.


Actions Against Sexual Abuse

Within BIAVI a professional committee on how to respond to sexual abuse is active. The BIAVI board of nominates members of the professional committee, whose main role is to support victims. All victims can rely on support from the committee. The committee is non-investigative. The proffessional committee can be contacted directly with an e-mail to or by calling the voicemail number 546 0086. It can also be contacted via mail through BIAVI's office, specially marked as to the committee.


BIAVI's Privacy Policy

In BIAVI's activities (ID-nr. 470169-2149, Hamrahlíð 17, 105 Reykjavík) gathering and collection of personal data is inevitable, to meet the associations requirements and fulfill it's role.

Personal information can regard members, customers, co-operators, employees and others in correspondance. We are concerned about individual privacy, and protect the information we are entrusted with.

In this privacy policy (BIAVI, ID-nr. 470169-2149, Hamrahlíð 17, 105 Reykjavík) we inform how we work with personal information about our members and customers, regarding current Personal Law.

In the instance of listing personal information in connection with membership, business, enquiries, applications or requests, where name, id-number, address, e-mail or other personal information is required, BIAVI is obliged to protect and secure the aforementioned information in a safe way, and will never forward this information to a third party without the agreement of the person involved or with the decision of a judge.

Exceptions from this rule can be grant applications, where it is assumed that by applying to the fund, it is agreed that information about allocated grants and grantees are made public. Applicants are advised to make themselves familiar with the rules about grants and general information regarding them.

Personal data is processed as long as an individual does not ask for them to be withheld. If a person wishes to express comments or objections about the use of his/her personal information, or for them to be deleted from the database, please contact BIAVI with an e-mail to

If a member of BIAVI wishes all personal information to be deleted from the membership files, it is regarded as resignation from BIAVI.


BIAVI's website uses cookies and is hosted at Stefna ehf. When visiting our website, neccessary information regarding access and usage are recorded. These information can include users IP-numbers. This information is solely gathered for security and malfunctional reasons. The website also uses cookies for neccessary performance, gathering data information and facilitating sharing on social media. More information in Stefna and BIAVI's cookie-policy.

The website uses Google Analytics, Facebook and Stefna for information on statistics and social media sharing.

The Icelandic Audiobook Library

The role of the library is to provide those who cannot make use of printed books, library services in the best possible way, with a good collection of audiobooks, also including textbooks, according to the users wishes and needs. The Audiobook Library is located at Digranesvegur 5, Kópavogur, and the phone number is 54 54 900.


The National Institute of the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deafblind in Iceland (the Center)

The Center's role is to increase the possibilities of blind, visually impaired or deafblind people to be active, and have equal access to all sectors of social life, with emphasis on support to study, idependent living, enjoying recreational activities and work. The Center is on the 4th floor in BIAVI's house at Hamrahlíð 17, phone: 545 5800 and website:

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