Alexis Ponce

Ashoka Fellow
Ecuador,
Fellow Since 1998
Asamblea Permanente de Derechos

Citation

This profile was prepared when Alexis Ponce was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Alexis Ponce has created a voluntary adoption system of people from disadvantaged or discriminated sectors in society, such as mothers of disappeared children, people with HIV, ethnic minorities, women who are the victims of family abuse, children who live on the street, and political prisoners. He recruits "adopters," who are primarily young people from universities and high schools, and trains them to assist "adoptees" by providing legal advice, conducting research, accompanying them to court and meetings with state institutions, and promoting and publicizing specific human rights causes.
In Ecuador, where human rights work has traditionally been limited in focus to civil and political rights, Alexis is redefining the sectors in need of human rights protection by broadening the scope of his program to include individuals suffering violations of their economic and social rights. Alexis's approach also moves beyond familiar letter-writing campaigns on behalf of specific cases. Th Adoption of Tenderness program increases the potential for widespread and lasting social impact by actively involving young people in the fight for human rights and by providing both practical and emotional support to people at their most vulnerable and isolated. In doing so, Alexis's program is changing not only legal precedents but also a culture in which sensitivity and compassion for disadvantaged people have long been neglected.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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