Fellow Since 2001
Szkoła Barki im. Hansa Christiana Kofoeda
This profile was prepared when Barbara Sadowska was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Barbara started the Kofoed School to help adults whose lives have been shaped by homelessness, unemployment, and, in many cases, chemical dependence. By treating participants as partners rather than patients, she enables them to see a hopeful, productive future and contribute to the school's sustainability and outreach as they recover. She combines therapy with work and professional training so that participants develop a sense of belonging, aquire concrete skills, and emerge as productive citizens, free of chemical dependency, committed to confronting challenges in their own lives and in their immediate communities. Eventually, participants assume roles in the Kofoed School as mentors and teachers of newcomers, many of whom find themselves in desperate life situations. Beyond education and therapy, the school offers long-term housing, legal aid for people facing eviction, and lobbying and advocacy for the legal rights of homeless and unemployed people.