This profile was prepared when Piotr Janaszek was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Piotr Janaszek has concluded that current social services for the disabled in Poland are not able to address the unique problems and issues of rural residents. He has set out to fill the void in disability services. Piotr is introducing a new concept in care that addresses unproductive sheltered workshops which fail to teach people skills that are applicable to their real life situations. In place of the sheltered workshop system, Piotr is establishing vocational training centers located on farms instead of the usual urban areas. All of the participants, regardless of their abilities and limitations, are taught skills that will make them productive contributors to family farms, thus destroying the perception that they are a lifetime burden for their relatives.