Solheimar is a sustainable community and non-profit organization dedicated to assisting over 100 residents, mostly individuals who are differently-abled. The small village is home to various businesses including a café, various art workshops, organic greenhouses, and guesthouses, giving all residents a sense of empowerment and purpose. Responsible, low-impact tourism to this community contributes to the financial sustainability of the non-profit and provides employment and livelihoods to village residents who otherwise might find it difficult to find economic opportunities.
Discrimination against individuals who are differently-abled is a historic problem seen around the world, which has led to these individuals to be excluded from participation in society in many cases. Solheimar Ecovillage, a purposeful community in Iceland, is addressing this issue by employing and empowering differently-abled artisans and staff. Founded in 1930, the community’s overall goal is the social inclusion of people from all backgrounds, and the organization is also dedicated to the preservation of nature and promotion of self-sufficient and sustainable living. Solheimar is based on a philosophy of eco-living and the residents support themselves through organic farming and the sale of products made from recycled goods. All activities take place within buildings with green features from construction materials, to energy and water efficiency, to green roofs.
Through our partnership with Solheimar, Planeterra provided the non-profit with a grant to assist with the renovation and creation of a café for visitors to the ecovillage. Upon completion of the café, Planeterra facilitated a partnership between Solheimar and tour operator partner G Adventures, which means more than 2,000 passengers will be receiving a tour of the community’s numerous workshops and green initiatives, and dining in the newly renovated café.