Teerawat Sripathomsawad

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Teerawat Sripathomsawad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Teerawat has introduced the practice of independent living (IL) at the community level in Thailand to ensure the disabled get the care they need with the greatest access for immobilized citizens. He establishes neighborhood centers where all disabled persons, regardless of age, type or extent of disability, can learn to judge their capacities, link into vocational training, motivate each other to keep moving forward, and stay independent from institutionalization. Together they are better able to push for their social, economic, and political rights, and take an active role in society. At the policy level, Teerawat focuses on enforcing the 1997 Constitution clauses regarding the disabled and reallocating government appropriations to a decentralized community-based approach. Core to his strategy, Teerawat specifically works to redirect funding from bureaucratic state services to personal assistants and mentors for each severely disabled person. Combining his credibility as a quadriplegic with his long-time expertise as a change agent, Teerawat is legitimizing independent living for the disabled across Thai society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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