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    Piotr Pawlowski is pioneering Poland's first serious disability mainstreaming and public education effort. He is doing so through structured workshops in secondary schools, targeted at teenagers and educators. He is also setting up the country's first resource center for newly disabled people and their families in order to ease the first pangs of sorrow and confusion with reassurance and practical advice.

    Piotr is revolutionizing the way communities in rural Poland heat their homes, and in the process, promoting innovation and local development. By utilizing locally-grown straw instead of coal, the communities are reducing pollution and realizing substantial savings, which is then reinvested in other income-generating ventures.

    Sabina Pieruzek-Nowak has demonstrated that education at the local level can transform attitudes about killing predatory animals such as wolves, and make environmental activists out of local people.

    Tadeusz Zapadka is addressing the needs of marginalized rural communities by inspiring local leadership, encouraging the entrepreneurial usage of local resources, and cultivating the creation of local solutions to community problems.

    Ewa is pioneering an educational program that addresses the growing divide between urban and rural populations in Poland. By bringing urban children and their parents into depressed rural areas for hands-on environmental education, by harnessing public funds to improve the quality of rural education, Ewa is helping reverse the destructive self-conceptions that plague rural populations and building understanding between citizens of urban and rural areas.

    This profile is dedicated to the memory of late Ryszard Golec. It was prepared when Ryszard was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998. Ryszard Golec is a pioneer in the fight to address one of Poland's most chronic problems - alcohol abuse in rural areas. In order to accomplish this goal, he has developed a technique that uses local institutions to penetrate these often closed communities.

    This profile is dedicated to the memory of late Stanislaw Duszynski. It was prepared when Stanislaw was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002. Stanislaw Duszynski is empowering people with disabilities to become independent and self-sufficient members of society. He creates opportunities in which the disabled stand on equal footing with the fully able in terms of developing their professional careers and social and family lives.

    Dagmara Bienkowska is working with underdeveloped rural communities to generate vigorous citizen participation and successful development plans. Her approach creates a new attitude toward local traditions which enables community members to use those traditions as sources of income and civic pride.

    Ryszard Michalski is helping a subculture of Polish youth who are politely referred to as alternative, but often seen as deviant, to contribute significantly to society. He helps them to find jobs and provides them with an organized forum and a self-driven system to carry out a portfolio of social activities.

    Tomasz Sadowski is pioneering a new approach for dealing with Poland's most chronic homeless cases by creating self-sufficient rural communities.