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 328 students in the K-12 and youth programs, 44% are girls.

About the project

The Association for Cohesive Development of the Amazon (ADCAM) started in 1985 as a small orphanage with 30 kids.  Today, it is a nationally-recognized institution which offers K-12, a technical college, vocational training, a family development center and rural education programs serving over 320 students, and 2,500 youth, families and elderly a day.

Despite the worst economic recession ever experienced in Brazil where the economy contracted by 3.8% in 2015 and 3.6% in 2016, and an unemployment rate of almost 13%, ADCAM continues to offer its many services to its students (many of whom work to support their families), teachers and parents. Programs include:

How we help

ADCAM is located in one of the poorest sections of Manaus, the capital city of the State of Amazonas. Since 2006, Mona Foundation has supported this project with scholarships and funds for capital improvement.

Through the partnership established over the years between ADCAM and the Mona Foundation, ADCAM has continued its socio-educational activities that benefit children, young people, youth, families and the community. By supporting quality education, access to education, qualifying adolescents and young people for the job market, empowering pre-youth and with the skills needed to ensure sustained income, ADCAM continues to see material improvement in its community despite the tremendous economic challenges facing the country.

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 was a full K-12 school with 500 students.

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.

Today, ADCAM is educating and serving 1,000 full time students, and 4,000 other youth, families and elderly.    In recognition, government of Brazil has 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 328 children from kindergarten through high school in poor neighborhoods with certified teachers and diversified programs. Through a diversity of pedagogical activities, including arts, music and sports, it fosters the development of the whole child, academically, artistically, technically, and morally such that each can be an agent of change in the social and economic development of their own communities.  The 2018 grant will support 70 students.

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

  1. Basic and advanced computer courses, 60 students
  2. Crafts and jewelry making 40 students
  3. Facial aesthetics, 20 students
  4. Entrepreneurship, 30 students
  5. Variety of workshops including drug use prevention, building a culture of peace, financial education, and the role of women in the family

This program, which supports 2,136 community members, 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 2,500 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.


2018 Achievements

328 students and 2,136 youth, families and elderly served daily.

70 scholarships provided to students ages 7-17 in Masrour School, the Family Development Center and the Youth Apprentice Program.

180 youth trained in the Young Apprentice Program, graduates employed in over 17 different companies.

2019 Project Goals

  • Increase scholarships from 70 to 80 students to attend the Masrour K-12 School.
  • Anticipating increases in Masrour School to 400 students from 328
  • Increase the impact of the Citizen Health Fair program to positively impact 3,500 people.

Give a youth a chance!

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