Donat Kuczewski

Ashoka Fellow
Poland,
Fellow Since 2002

Citation

This profile was prepared when Donat Kuczewski was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
In an unconventional combination of drug rehabilitation and environmental programs, Donat introduces drug addicts, often with HIV/AIDS, to a number of outdoor activities and environmental work experiences. Unlike other rehabilitation centers, he utilizes a farm as a place where addicts can perform the work they might be doing as healthy people. Through a variety of different agricultural and outdoor activities, Donat is helping addicted individuals return to normal life.
Unlike most other social institutions, Donat's model is a self-sustainable operation. Food is grown on the property. The land is taken care of by the patients as they develop new skills in agriculture. The wider community provides some staples free of charge. Healthcare is provided by the local community in exchange for food grown on the farm. Donat has also created sustainable human resources; the farming-therapeutic community is responsible for the operation of the facility and elects its own leadership.
A key to Donat's success is the importance he has placed on cooperation with local communities and governments. Through cooperating with local governments, Donat has been able to identify mutually beneficial components of his work. He creates job placements for addicts and income-generating activities for neighborhood villagers and farmers. For the most impoverished, Donat has a program of free "breed-and-sell" rabbits. Donat also provides schooling for people in his program. In doing so, he is creating new perspectives and possibilities to help those who are addicted and ill.
The effectiveness of this therapy lies in the variety of activities it offers. A therapeutic model for addicts, it is also a place where people contribute to the environment and to local communities, access jobs and ecological education, and validate a method of economic sustainability. Donat's model is beginning to garner national and international attention and respect.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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