Monica Lylloff's mission is to break boundaries on disability for her children and others.
Picture: Ditte Valente
Text: Nikolaos Papadopoulos
Meet Monica Lylloff: mother of 3, lawyer, and founder of the movement "En Million Stemmer", a movement dedicated to promoting the rights and welfare of people with forms of physical and mental disabilities.
"14 years ago we were an ordinary family: a mother, a father and a two-year-old boy, living in an ordinary house and having ordinary jobs", Monica tells us, "we knew nothing about disabilities, and we were expecting twins". Fate, however, decided to turn their lives upside down as their twin girls were born premature and nearly died. In addition, all 3 of her children (now in their teens) were diagnosed with conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism. These are all conditions that can prove dangerous to their future well-being.
Living in a "welfare state" based on high taxation, one would expect help from the authorities, especially on health matters. However, it appears that when you need help the most, the authorities are nowhere to be found. Monica recounts her fight for her children's fundamental rights: "what concerns me the most is that most of the decisions are arbitrary". There is no solid framework upon which to base decisions, and they differ from area to area, caseworker to caseworker, and family to family; this means that even identical cases receive very different treatment.
Seeing the difficulties her family faced in getting proper help from the state, she knew she was not the only one, so in 2019 she decided to found the movement "En Million Stemmer", initially as a Facebook page, trying to give a voice to the approximately one million people, roughly 20% of the population, living in Denmark with some form of disability.
Nowadays, the movement numbers 33 800 members, all volunteers, working tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of their loved ones. They managed to initiate a discussion around the system's current state with their citizen proposal "handicapområdet skal væk fra kommunerne", and they provide concrete solutions to existing problems in their "Løsningskatalog". "The most immediate thing that needs to be done", Monica says, "is that the authorities actually listen to the people concerned, and they follow the law". Until then, she knows it is an uphill battle many will have to fight, and she will be there to support them, both Danes and internationals.