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Page Title


Country, Date of election

Poland 2002



Ojciec Kuba stworzył system wsparcia wspólnotowego na rzecz osób o znacznym stopniu niepełnosprawności, w miejscach w Polsce, w których nie zostało ono odpowiednio zapewnione. Tworzy „wspólnoty” rodziców, wolontariuszy, przyjaciół i instytucji, które orientują się wokół potrzeb osób niepełnosprawnych.



Physically and mentally disabled persons constitute 14.3 percent of Polish society. Every 25th person is deemed legally disabled, while every 20th person’s life and work is affected by disability. People living with disabilities are the object of prejudices, myths, and stereotypes. Existing public services for the disabled are inadequate. The majority of state and citizen sector organizations focus on physical rehabilitation, the development of independent living skills, and meeting basic needs. Those individuals with minor disabilities benefit the most and in a majority of cases are able to live on their own. Those with severe mental and physical disabilities are put in social care houses once their family members are gone. Social care houses concentrate on providing basic care and satisfying physiological needs. Human psychological needs are not adequately met. Social care homes tend to be places of loneliness–places where people are not „living,” although they are alive.


Father Kuba has created a system of community support to care for severely disabled individuals, a demographic that has not been adequately supported in Poland. He creates „communities” of parents, volunteers, friends, and institutions that orient themselves around the needs of the disabled. It is the responsibility of each community to raise money and provide support and leadership for its work. Each community is part of a larger network that serves as a decision-making body and provider of general support. To address the psychological challenges that people with disabilities face, local groups are designed to act as a family for each individual. One-on-one matching with volunteers, the focus on trust and love, and the creation of „settlements” help individuals who often suffer loneliness and feelings of abandonment after their parents have died. Settlements are community-gathering places where the disabled, volunteers, and family members can feel safe and at home. The family-like atmosphere is possible because this is a support structure built upon trust, tenderness, and attention to individuals’ needs. Father Kuba emphasizes the beauty and uniqueness of every disabled person. Involving parents of disabled children, partners, and volunteers, Father Kuba is convinced all parties will learn about mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect. The communities are designed to extend their reach to external audiences in order to educate the public about disabilities, prejudices, and individual and communal responsibility for the disabled. Father Kuba’s model is widely replicable.


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