Fellow Since 1996
Colectivo Mexicano de Apoyo a la Niñez
This profile was prepared when Maria Eugenia Linares was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
María Eugenia Linares, also known as Maru, has created a project called "Fostering a Culture of Respect towards Children's Rights" that engages civil society in an ongoing conversation about the rights of children. By teaching adults how to respect the physical and psychological integrity of children, educating children about their own rights, encouraging the government to create pro-children policies, and helping child and youth-related organizations to become more efficient and transparent, Maru is cajoling Mexican society to assume responsibility for monitoring and ensuring the rights of its youngest members. Within the global human rights movement, Maru is widely respected as the national leader for children's rights in Mexico. Much of the research that has brought Mexican children's realities to light has been done thanks to her initiative. Moreover, she understands how to use the obligations of international treaties and legal norms to organize activist constituencies and hold governments responsible. She is uniquely qualified to bring about a new culture of respect for children in Mexico.