This profile was prepared when Marek Rohácek was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1997.
The New Idea
Marek Rohácek is creating a process to return abandoned children who currently live in orphanages to family-based care. He is developing mechanisms necessary to improve the legal framework for adoption in order to facilitate secure permanent placement for children and eliminate bottlenecks in the existing system. He is working to change the predominant social prejudices against adoption and foster care in Slovakia, and he has constructed Slovakia's first support network for families who choose to adopt or foster children.Marek's work is rooted in a vision of the meaning of family. He believes that without the experience of family nurture, people cannot truly function as citizens because they will lack a sense of a common future. In his own words, his work to establish alternative families requires an exploration of "what family means for the legal system, economic development, social politics, the church and, above all, the general culture."