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Page Title


Country, Date of election

Poland 2002



Poprzez niekonwencjonalne połączenie odwyku od narkotyków z programami ochrony środowiska, Donat wprowadza osoby uzależnione od narkotyków, często z HIV/AIDS, do wielu zajęć na świeżym powietrzu i doświadczeń pracy w środowisku. W przeciwieństwie do innych ośrodków rehabilitacyjnych, on wykorzystuje farmę jako miejsce, gdzie narkomani mogą wykonywać pracę tak jak zdrowi ludzie.




Following the fall of communism in the early 1990s, there was a dramatic rise in drug abuse and addiction in Poland. Its weak border control has made Poland a transit country for drug dealers in Eastern and Western Europe. This has tremendously increased the access people have to drugs. Currently, 10- and 11-year-old children have easy access to dealers who trade in primary schools or in their neighborhoods. About 3 percent of the population are addicted to drugs, and more than three million people are experimenting with various types of drugs and chemical substances. Drug addiction is closely linked to a variety of other problems. Severe drug addiction has contributed to or been linked with HIV/AIDS, dementia, schizophrenia, and paralysis. And addiction can contribute to a variety of social problems like neglect, isolation, financial strain, unemployment, and social dislocation. Drug rehabilitation centers in Poland fall short in addressing the full spectrum of addicts’ needs. For example, while a number of drug rehabilitation centers were started in the 1980s and 1990s by the government, they did not address the needs of HIV-positive addicts. In general, Polish programs are insufficiently funded and often fail in helping their patients. A majority accept aggression, even violence, between patients and therapists. Such tactics contribute to a high dropout rate in drug addiction therapy, and patients who drop out are usually not allowed to reenter the programs.


In an unconventional combination of drug rehabilitation and environmental programs, Donat introduces drug addicts, often with HIV/AIDS, to a number of outdoor activities and environmental work experiences. Unlike other rehabilitation centers, he utilizes a farm as a place where addicts can perform the work they might be doing as healthy people. Through a variety of different agricultural and outdoor activities, Donat is helping addicted individuals return to normal life. Unlike most other social institutions, Donat’s model is a self-sustainable operation. Food is grown on the property. The land is taken care of by the patients as they develop new skills in agriculture. The wider community provides some staples free of charge. Healthcare is provided by the local community in exchange for food grown on the farm. Donat has also created sustainable human resources; the farming-therapeutic community is responsible for the operation of the facility and elects its own leadership. A key to Donat’s success is the importance he has placed on cooperation with local communities and governments. Through cooperating with local governments, Donat has been able to identify mutually beneficial components of his work. He creates job placements for addicts and income-generating activities for neighborhood villagers and farmers. For the most impoverished, Donat has a program of free „breed-and-sell” rabbits. Donat also provides schooling for people in his program. In doing so, he is creating new perspectives and possibilities to help those who are addicted and ill. The effectiveness of this therapy lies in the variety of activities it offers. A therapeutic model for addicts, it is also a place where people contribute to the environment and to local communities, access jobs and ecological education, and validate a method of economic sustainability. Donat’s model is beginning to garner national and international attention and respect.


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