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Integrating Disabled People Through Education

Ashoka Fellow, Warsaw, Poland

Piotr developed a curriculum in Polish schools to introduce a paradigm shift in how students and educators treat disabled students. Through his organization, “Friends of Integration,” students are taught sensitivity and empathy towards disabled people and teachers have been trained across 45 high schools. Piotr believes that a change in attitude is the tipping point at which disabled students will be able to integrate into mainstream schools.Piotr Pawlowski is creating a system to integrate disabled people into Polish society. In Poland, only 3% of all disabled people in wheelchairs are university graduates, compared to 9% of the total population; only 20% of the disabled have graduated from high school, compared with 39% of all Poles; and the unemployment rate for disabled people in wheelchairs with university degrees is five times higher than that of non-disabled university graduates. Piotr is targeting the problem through education, an injury-prevention campaign, and support for the disabled. 

Using popular media, Piotr created a national campaign on how to avoid dangerous behaviors leading to spinal cord injuries. In support for the disabled, Piotr has established a hotline that disabled people can for information, support or advice. The hotline will eventually be tied to a computerized database, which will digitalize information on organizations and services available to help the disabled. With his program, Piotr is reinventing opportunities for disabled people in Poland.

Speech Topics:

  • Community Integration
  • Disability Awareness
  • Comparative Social Support Systems
This article was originally published on May 13, 2016
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