Margarita Ibarra Platt
This profile was prepared when Margarita Ibarra Platt was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Starting in Hermosillo, Margarita has created Mexico’s first fully integrated drug treatment and rehabilitation center for women of limited means. Adapting a methodology used at top treatment facilities in the United States and Mexico, the program takes a holistic view of addiction that addresses both the spiritual well-being of the patient and the gender-specific social and economic issues that not only push women into drugs in the first place but have also made it difficult for them to achieve sustained recoveries. The model program includes individual and group therapy that helps women build self-esteem and find their spiritual center, as well as family participation, job training, and long-term follow-up. Margarita has also opened a halfway house where women without family support can stay as they focus on rebuilding their lives. Albergue Feminil, or the Women’s Hostel, charges women only a small, income-based fee to participate, relying on private donors, government aid, and various business enterprises to support its operations. Based on the success of the Hermosillo center, Margarita has already begun negotiating with the state government for a second center, as well as lobbying the federal government to adopt her model for its own treatment programs nationwide.