Javier Sánchez Díaz

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1989
Centro Rural Integrador de Salud y Educación (CRISE)


This profile was prepared when Javier Sánchez Díaz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1989.
The New Idea
First, Javier seeks to prevent children at risk from falling into the street. Carefully targeting buildings and families with children at risk, he has created an apparently successful series of safety nets and other supports. He first builds up a core of volunteers in the building who then form an Assembly. They take charge of minor building issues and parties, and become a guardian to backstop families in supporting children. He's also developing a series of mechanisms to tie teachers, now outsiders who don't understand their students' context, more effectively to those they serve. He and his colleagues also work directly with the children and with their families.
As he has increasingly come to believe that a decent income is most families' first need, and as many of the other aspects of his program to safeguard vulnerable children from falling into the street have been demonstrated successfully, he has been rechannelling his creativity and time into an effort to launch a model modified cooperative women's garment production unit that will initially offer 30-40 jobs. He intends his model to be an alternative to both exploitative capitalism and the dead hand of bureaucracy. His vision is of a practical co-op drawing on Mexico's community traditions -- but also one with special incentives for skilled workers and managers, especially in the early years before the bulk of the workforce has been broadly cross-trained in marketing, maintenance, etc. and able to take up voting participation. In two years he expects it to absorb half his time. He hopes in the long term it and other similarly organized units will help fund his research and community work and that of others working with him.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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