ADCAM, Brazil

ADCAM has educated thousands of underserved children, youth and adults in Manaus, Brazil for over 30 years and helped transform entire communities. Of the 502 students in the K-12 and youth programs, 44% are girls.

About the project

The Association for Cohesive Development of the Amazon (ADCAM) is located in one of the poorest sections of Manaus, the capital city of the State of Amazonas in Brazil.  It started in 1985 as a small orphanage with 30 kids and today is a nationally-recognized institution offering a K-12 school, a technical college, vocational training, a family development center, and rural education programs.

By making education accessible, providing high quality programs, and qualifying adolescents and young adults for the job market, ADCAM is contributing to the material improvement of entire communities in spite of the tremendous economic challenges facing the country.


How we help

Mona Foundation has partnered with ADCAM since 2006, providing funds for scholarships, teacher training, materials, and capital improvements in support of its socio-educational activities benefitting children, youth, families, and the community.

ADCAM has educated thousands of under-served children, youth and adults in Manaus, Brazil for over 30 years and helped transform entire communities. Of the 502 students in the K-12 and youth programs, 44% are girls.

The country went into lockdown in March and as mandated by the State Governor, in-person classes were suspended on March 17th.  ADCAM immediately responded this reality and on March 23rd were able to begin online classes!

“Considering the gravity of the moment in the world by COVID-19, we understand the need for children and young people to continue their links with the school institution, with classmates, as well as teachers, is essential to ensure effective learning… helping in their well-being and in the occupation of their minds, distancing them from the tension in which the situation makes them focus on the moment.” – ADCAM Administrator

Below are updates on how ADCAM has adjusted to its new reality and resolved challenges:

  • increased partial scholarships to 50 families (from 46).
  • extracurricular activities of Spiritual Empowerment, started in February with the enrollment of 100 students from 41 families; transitioned online in March and is still continuing.
  • Family Festival held virtually in June where children presented what they have been learning to the parents.
  • Solidarity Action Campaign” held to replace their annual Citizen Health Fair. In this campaign they collected and distributed non-perishable foods, cleaning materials and materials to make masks to families in need.
  • Workshops for Families have continued through leveraging WhatsApp. Groups of families have been created on WhatsApp where ADCAM continues to provide help to families during social isolation, assisting them in both the educational and emotional process.
  • 6 Online Lectures have been held so far. Striving for the well-being of families, ADCAM provided a series of thematic lectures and conversation circles with various professionals in the field of health, psychologists and advisors, were invited to guide families through the challenges are facing in times of social distancing.
  • the Young Apprenticeship Program is continuing online, 136 youth
  • Arts, music, capoeira and sports activities have continued online through recorded videos. This has encouraged physical activity and the participation of whole families, further promoting the well-being of the students and families
  • Teacher training is continuing and has increased in intensity. ADCAM is providing courses and lectures with professionals on themes that assist the teachers in the implementation and use of new digital tools to teach online.



It all started when Ferial and her family moved to Manaus in the heart of the Amazon in 1985.  Ferial, pictured to the right, saw the abject poverty around her and decided to do something about it. Her first step was to pick up 5 abandoned toddlers off the street and bring them home with her and this is how the orphanage started.  By the time she was done, 300 abandoned children had been adopted into good families.  Then she decided that education was the only way to address the root cause of poverty and started elementary school.  She added a classroom every year until the school offered a full K-12 curriculum.

Then she looked around and saw hundreds of street children, often with no clothes on and hungry, begging in the streets, so she decided to do something about that and started the ADCAM’s Family Development Center.  This program offers free education to the street children, while providing parental support and training to the parents.

And then she saw the desperate plight of the elderly in the community. Often illiterate and unable to understand the complicated rules governing the meager stipend alloted to the elderly poor they were often homeless and without support, and so Ferial decided to help them.  She worked with numerous government agencies and community members and together they held a “Day of the Elderly” on ADCAM campus.  They advertised and brought in hundreds of the elderly in the community and signed them up for their government benefit of $10/month.   In addition they provided other nutritional and medical care services.   This is how the “Program for the Elderly” at ADCAM was born.   The Day of the Elderly is now an annual event, and the program now serves hundreds of elderly women and men every day.

After all this, Ferial decided that K-12 education was not sufficient and the graduating youth needed skills and training to find employment that paid a living wage.  She again sprung into action and wrote a grant to the government of Brazil, asking for a $1M grant to start a four year technical college.  This college is now in place, offering 17 different tracks of skills training including carpentry, refrigeration maintenance, computer technology and alike to the community. The Youth Apprenticeship program was later put in place to ensure placement of graduates in local companies.

In recognition of this significant accomplishment, the government of Brazil awarded Ferial with Brazil’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor for her outstanding services to the people of Brazil.

Schools in many poor neighborhoods often lack qualified teachers. The Masrour School serves children from kindergarten through high school in poor neighborhoods with certified teachers and a diversified curriculum. Through a variety of pedagogical activities, including arts, music and sports, it fosters the development of the whole child, academically, artistically, technically, and morally and empowers each student to be an agent of change in the social and economic development of their own communities.

The Institute offers professional certification in a variety of courses to youth and adults to improve their opportunity for employment, and gives them the basis for sustainable lifetime careers.  The courses include:

  1. Basic and advanced computer courses
  2. Crafts and jewelry making
  3. Facial aesthetics
  4. Entrepreneurship
  5. Workshops including drug use prevention, building a culture of peace, financial education, and the role of women in the family

This program provides access to basic services for the community at the ADCAM campus, free of charge, in the areas of health, education, culture and leisure, the issuance of personal documents (required by the government to receive social security and other benefits), among others. The project consists of gathering health service providers, educators, civil authorities who issue documents and others to provide easy public access to at-risk families, youth and children. The goal is to develop a sense of belonging among citizens and to promote empowerment so that each citizen recognizes his or her rights and how to obtain them.

The Family Development Center offers educational programs to children, youth and their families to assist them to develop their capacities and to encourage children to stay in school and off the streets. The students who participate here can also go on to other ADCAM educational programs.

Support the needs of this amazing project, benefiting nearly 2,000 students, youth and elderly.

Click on each of the suggested donation amounts below to see what your investment in education of children, youth and women can buy in this school.


2019 Achievements

298 students received a high quality K-12 education

204 youth were trained in the Young Apprentice Program

40 teachers received 8 sessions of training

35 families trained on the empowerment of the family nucleus as protagonists of social transformation.

1,378 youth, families, and elderly received free access to basic services.

2020 Project Goals

  • 80 scholarships
  • Increase Young Apprentice Program to 300 youth.
  • Train 40 teachers and technical staff.
  • Provide lunch for 100 students attending the weekly empowerment program
  • Repair and maintenance of classrooms, bathrooms, library, auditoriums, computer labs

Give a youth a chance!

Give $50 a month to support the education of one student for a whole school year.