Dariusz Cupial

Ashoka Fellow
Poland
Fellow Since 2005

Citation

This profile was prepared when Dariusz Cupial was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
The modern family is becoming increasingly difficult to define as its structure evolves and changes depending on cultural and socioeconomic circumstances. In contemporary Polish society, the role of the father or father-figure has emerged as key to maintaining the strength of the family as a backbone of society. Yet because the duties and behaviors traditionally associated with fatherhood are becoming less relevant, many fathers are at a loss on how best to involve themselves in the raising of their children. In searching for ways to strengthen the family in Polish society, Dariusz identified the father as the essential unmet need in many families. To respond, he has developed a strategy to both educate and support men who are taking on this role in any capacity, reaching out to adoptive, biological, foster, and stepfathers alike.
There is extensive written debate about the “absentee father” and its detrimental effects. Dariusz recognizes that absent fathers are not always reluctant, just unsupported and lacking knowledge. By empowering men to embrace fatherhood, Dariusz is truly creating a “social movement of fatherhood” in all its forms. Instead of continuing to bemoan and harp on the crisis of fatherhood, Dariusz is actively debunking cultural myths about fatherhood through workshops and coordinated public education campaigns, while also imparting concrete parenting skills to a new generation of fathers. In the process he is not only developing the self-esteem and social role of these men, but also strengthening and improving the environment in which Polish children are raised.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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