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Wacław Czakon is helping to shape educational policies for children and young people by empowering them to launch social ventures and then leveraging the positive impacts of those ventures with policymakers.
Wojciech Onyszkiewicz has created a unique food bank distribution system that not only helps Poland's needy people but also engages the participants in a civic education process that is breaking the barriers between rural and urban communities.
This profile is dedicated to the memory of late Piotr Janaszek. It was prepared when Piotr was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998. Piotr Janaszek is creating a new system which provides employment options for disabled youth in rural areas and combats the opinion held by many rural residents, that the disabled are a burden to the farm and unemployable.
Dagmara Bienkowska is working with underdeveloped rural communities to generate vigorous citizen participation and successful development plans. Her approach creates a new attitude toward local traditions which enables community members to use those traditions as sources of income and civic pride.
An industrialist, enlightened banker, and now social entrepreneur, Ibrahim Betil has contributed to the advancement of full citizenship for Turkish workers and young people throughout his varied career. Starting five years ago, he turned his attention fully to putting in place opportunities for young adults to contribute to positive social action through their own initiative.
Zdzislaw Nitak is building environmental consciousness in Polish cities by focusing on the connection between urban household habits and environmental decay. He works with youth, teachers, parents, government authorities, and neighborhood associations, not only to change the patterns of their own consumption, but also to consolidate an efficient lobbying structure to influence laws, policy makers, and producers alike.
Enrique Velazquez set up the Durango Committee for the Preservation and Defense of the Environment, a model of cooperation between government, industry, and the community. Replacing paralyzing conflict, this approach sorts through environmental problems and promotes ecologically sound, balanced alternatives.
Dariusz is engaging fathers in hands-on roles and reenergizing the father as a key figure in the development of a child.
Ryszard Michalski is helping a subculture of Polish youth who are politely referred to as alternative, but often seen as deviant, to contribute significantly to society. He helps them to find jobs and provides them with an organized forum and a self-driven system to carry out a portfolio of social activities.