Daniel Tawrycky

Ashoka Fellow
Santiago, Chile
Fellow Since 2000
Fundación Nacional Para la Superación de la Pobreza


This profile was prepared when Daniel Tawrycky was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Daniel Tawrycky believes that university students in his native Chile are an untapped resource whose engagement in the community can help prevent many of the detrimental consequences of poverty among underprivileged children. In coordination with municipal governments, elementary schools, and universities, Daniel has developed a program that matches up university students as tutors for poor youngsters during an eight-month period. In order to create a strong sense of identification between participants, Daniel aims to pair up tutors with children from the same neighborhood and socio-economic background.
Daniel focuses on prevention rather than rehabilitation, recognizing that many of the problems –such as drug addiction and sexual abuse–faced by children in the disadvantaged communities in which he works cannot be solved by university students. The university tutors meet with their assigned children for two hours, twice per week, and help them with their homework, serve as sounding boards and role models, and introduce them to educational and recreational possibilities beyond the confines of their neighborhoods. Twice a month, for example, the tutors are required to take the children to a park, museum or cultural event.
Through this initiative, Daniel is attempting to change the traditionally paternalistic bent of programs dealing with poverty and youth. On the one hand, he is providing at-risk children with mentors to help guide them through the challenges of growing up in disadvantaged communities. On the other hand, he is instilling in university students a commitment to community service and, in the cases of those students who come from underprivileged backgrounds themselves, an opportunity to remain engaged in their communities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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