This profile was prepared when Fabián Ferraro was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
A former street child and professional soccer player, Fabián is tackling the pervasive and growing problem of Argentine adolescents who neither work nor attend school. Fabián's own experience has taught him that before reinserting at-risk youths into the formal education system or training them to enter the labor market, as is the common practice, they must first build self-esteem and social capacity for mainstream participation. By creating spaces inside the community in which underprivileged young people can develop an interest in relevant issues, Fabian helps children and teens improve their leadership skills and respond to some of the social problems that led to their clandestine lifestyles. He facilitates roles for youths within a solidarity network of businesses, civil society organizations, schools, and community groups to reinforce the notion that, just as in their own lives, positive change must originate from within a system. Through a unique vision that links young people's self-worth with a higher quality of life in their communities, Fabián helps youths create change for themselves, creatively, sustainably, and with pride.