This profile was prepared when Ausra Kuriene was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Ausra believes that society is able to address the psychological needs of at-risk children by involving the wider community in early prevention and intervention. She raises awareness and provides new knowledge and skills, enabling community members to actively participate in solving children's problems. Ausra is countering the current approach, in which interventions in psychological cases are carried out mainly by professionals, due to the need for more immediate and effective crisis identification and support. Adults whom the child meets every day-teachers, coaches, pediatricians, police-usually are not able to recognize signs of crisis, nor do they feel capable to do anything about it. Educating the adults a child meets everyday about the signs of psychological problems and methods of intervention enables them to act with greater efficiency and certainty than even a doctor could.