Andrea David

Ashoka Fellow
Budapest, Hungary
Fellow Since 1999

Citation

This profile was prepared when Andrea David was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Andrea has crafted a complex program to assist the mentally disabled in their attempts to reintegrate into society and recover some measure of self-sufficiency. Andrea's program consists of six blocks: 1) special development workshops in which the mentally disabled learn the necessary life skills for professional and social integration; 2) the further development of communication skills, concentration, and self-discipline; 3) "job practice": vocational training and actual work in real work environments; 4) "supported employment": the pursuit of jobs for clients and the administration of evaluations to see that both client and customer are satisfied; 5) participation in cultural events, visiting theaters, opera, etc.; 6) The Workers' Club, a club of disabled professionals who organize cultural events. Together, these programs not only prepare the disabled for work in the "real world," but also encourage and counsel employers to accept the disabled: Salva Vita provides the opportunity for disabled employees to build personal relationships of trust and mutual respect with their employers. In this way, Salva Vita challenges mainstream society to better understand and accept the mentally disabled.

While the past few years have yielded increasing public awareness of disabilities in Hungary, the mentally disabled have been ignored and even willfully excluded from disability partnerships. The mentally disabled are still widely viewed as fundamentally sick, dangerous people-even by certain members of the broader community of the disabled. There is currently no disability movement in Hungary that will cooperate with the mentally disabled. In this sense, Andrea is exploring entirely new ground.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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