This profile was prepared when Eva Mydílková was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Eva Mydílková has designed a scheme that seeks to make the best of severe budget reductions for social care services in Slovakia. Across-the-board cuts for public services were eliminating subsidized jobs for the disabled. At the same time they were causing nursing homes, hospitals and other care givers to close or contract out their services. Eva saw a labor niche for a population that has great difficulty competing in Slovakia's job market: she trains and re-deploys disabled persons as employees in the beleaguered social care sector. Eva's plan is good for all the participants. In order to finance the new jobs, Eva builds consortia of private businesses, local churches and other community groups-all of which are willing to contribute toward the salaries of the trained and enthusiastic disabled workers because they help to maintain the functions of local nursing homes, hospitals and other social service institutions in spite of lean public budgets. Eva's technique is rewarding for the clients, who develop better self-esteem through work and have a sense of contributing to the greater good of society. She realizes that it is extremely important that these marginalized people feel useful and needed and that the general public see their potential to contribute to the community.