This profile was prepared when Hana Malinova was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Hana Malinová has opened a center in Prague for male and female prostitutes, where she provides counseling and health services, with particular attention to drug use and HIV/AIDS prevention. Her program has a distinctive approach to health care among the socially despised and isolated prostitutes; she perceives their self-image and their choice of livelihood as part of their overall health and has devised an unusual technique to strengthen a capacity for increased well-being among them. The most striking aspect of Hana's center is that it is also a community theater, where the prostitutes help to create plays and then take the stage as actors before an audience of their peers. Hana also offers job counseling and placement services. Her center is a space of camaraderie and support where the severely stigmatized prostitutes can gather courage to address the barriers they must overcome to reintegrate themselves into Czech society.