Fellow Since 1999
Stowarzyszenie Lubelski Ośrodek Samopomocy
This profile was prepared when Andrzej Juros was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Andrzej is creating practical training programs for disabled people, particularly those who live in isolated rural areas. Andrzej's model replaces their feeling of helplessness with a sense of empowerment, as the disabled person becomes an agent of social improvement. Using his background as a psychologist and his familiarity with academia, Andrzej has introduced a new agenda for universities: that of providing students with opportunities to gain practical skills in community programs in addition to learning theoretical, abstract knowledge. Students build local support groups that help the disabled create strategies for living with potential and promise rather than oppression and fear. In turn, the students not only directly experience the nature of disabilities, but learn about volunteerism, social work, and the management of community-based organizations.