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Page Title


Country, Date of election

Poland 1998



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.


The cultural, social and educational gap between Polish urban and rural communities has a long history grounded in theevolution of Poland's economic development. Rural childrenhave few opportunities to secure a decent education - certainly not one that prepares them to enter the modernizing jobmarket. What's more, rural and urban children have very fewopportunities to interact, and disparaging stereotypes prevail in both contexts. Such trends can be especially damaging in rural areas, where prejudice is easily nurtured by reactionarydemagogues. 


In summary Ewa's project achieves three discrete but relatedgoods: urban children experience rural life, begin to challengeprevailing stereotypes of rural culture, learn about organicfarming and more broadly about conservation; rural childrenget improved education that allows them to be competitive in entering the jobmarket; and rural communities benefit from theattention (and buying power) of the urban population. Shespread her porgram to all Poland with links to other European countries. Ewa is also writing and publishing a textbook toshow other Polish villages how they can combine educationwith organic farming. 


Through education and economic empowerment, Ewa's work addresses the enormous divide between rural and urban communities in Poland. Her educational efforts encompass social, cultural, economic, and environmental programs that seek to erase stereotypes, foster mutual respect, in still self-esteem, and empower both children and adults to enter the economic mainstream. Urban children travel to the country to get hands-on experience of different aspects of rural life through the activities and programs she has engineered. Ewa trains family farmers to become part-time teachers in this program, teaching them that the everyday resources of the farm can become new assets.


Vision is tdecrease the growing divide between urban and rural populations in Poland. By bringing urban children andtheir parents into depressed rural areas for hands-on environmental education, by harnessing public funds toimprove 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.


Ewa addresses a problem that Poles consistently identify as among Poland's largest challenges for the coming years. Shefocused all of her energies on this project, which she feels will be her most important, most enduring, and most challenging. Whereas there were precedents for her work in organic food and women's health, she feels that she is now striking out into an area in which established alternatives are scarce.

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