This profile was prepared when Zsuzsa Csato was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Zsuzsa's "transition" training program involves both the mentally handicapped and their parents in the transition from institutional group or family homes to independent residences. She works to build the capacity of the handicapped to take care of themselves, enabling them to be able to maintain a job, care for themselves, and perform a variety of tasks in their new homes. Her work with parents includes organizing families into small shareholder groups to negotiate the purchase of apartment. She runs apartments, offering job counseling to parents who had spent years at home caring for their children. The idea of the mentally handicapped living on their own is a new concept for Hungary's social service agencies as well as for the private sector.