Fellow Since 1995
This profile was prepared when Mora Ines Podestá Baratta was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Mora Podestá is educating middle-class Uruguay to the problem of street children in an effective program that mobilizes adult volunteers as mentors to and advocates for the street children. Mora's efforts also enlist the children themselves in helping change the public's perception of street children. She helps people understand why the kids are on the street, and she promotes public murals, dance and handicraft sales to show that these children have something positive to contribute to society.Mora's key insight is that street children instill fear and denial in the middle-class public, and she has developed several mechanisms that transform this fear into purposeful concern. In so doing, she is beginning to address the larger problem of the deepening rift in Uruguayan society between rich and poor.