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In communities where environmental protection has rarely been a priority, Ewa Romanow stimulates ecological consciousness and action by bringing their immediate economic benefits to light. Working in small towns and rural areas throughout Poland, she helps people learn to increase income and social capital without sacrificing the health of their surroundings.
Jadwiga Lopata is creating an alternative "eco-village" economy for rural Poland by introducing family farms to the emerging premium markets for organic produce and livestock, and building a cottage eco-tourism industry around the lifestyle of natural farming.
Jarek Dominiak is forming investment clubs to teach financial management skills to people from all walks of life, and particularly to people living in rural areas. These clubs build trust among participants and encourage hands-on learning through collective investing.
Krzysztof Liszcz is training the mothers of children with cerebral palsy to provide improved care for their children in a home-based program that is spreading throughout Poland. His program reduces state expenditures while certifying the mothers so that they can earn money with their new skills.
Piotr is revolutionizing the way communities in rural Poland heat their homes, and in the process, promoting innovation and local development. By utilizing locally-grown straw instead of coal, the communities are reducing pollution and realizing substantial savings, which is then reinvested in other income-generating ventures.
Sabina Pieruzek-Nowak has demonstrated that education at the local level can transform attitudes about killing predatory animals such as wolves, and make environmental activists out of local people.
Tadeusz Zapadka is addressing the needs of marginalized rural communities by inspiring local leadership, encouraging the entrepreneurial usage of local resources, and cultivating the creation of local solutions to community problems.
Ewa is pioneering an educational program that addresses the growing divide between urban and rural populations in Poland. By bringing urban children and their parents into depressed rural areas for hands-on environmental education, by harnessing public funds to improve the quality of rural education, Ewa is helping reverse the destructive self-conceptions that plague rural populations and building understanding between citizens of urban and rural areas.
Jacek Strzemieczny is changing the very nature of student-teacher relationships in Polish schools through a unique civic education program that empowers students and community members to become active in the reform and development of newly independent local school systems.
Antonio Paz Martinez has built a remarkable community organization out of the wreckage wrought by the 1985 earthquake in poor neighborhoods of central Mexico City. He's now spreading its ideas and adding a vertically and horizontally integrated economic machine built up from small back veranda "informal sector" neighborhood producers.