About the project
The Association for Cohesive Development of the Amazon (ADCAM) is an education non-profit in Brazil. Its mission is to promote the well-being and prosperity of the Amazonian people through quality education that empowers individual and social transformation.
For over 30 years, ADCAM has educated thousands of underserved children, youth, and adults and helped transform entire communities. Located in one of the poorest sections of Manaus, it began in 1985 as a small orphanage. Today, it is a nationally-recognized institution with a wide range of programs:
- Masrour School provides pre-K through high school education to over 500 students. Educational activities, including arts, music and sports, foster the development of the whole child — academically, artistically, technically, and morally — and empowers each student to work towards the betterment of their community.
- Vocational training serves youth and adolescents who are unable to attend public school due to their age or lack of vacancy in the system.
- Institute of Technology offers professional certification in a variety of courses for youth and adults to improve their employment opportunities and provide a basis for sustainable careers.
- Family Development Center provides a safe community space for at-risk youth (ages 11-15) to learn and grow. The center encourages students to stay in school and off the streets, helps them develop their talents and abilities, and empowers them and their families to serve their communities.
- Rural Education Programs offers access to formal education to the rural, indigenous river population in the town of Iranduba.
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 communities.
When the government in Amazonas, Brazil suspended in-person classes in mid-March 2020, ADCAM immediately got to work and transitioned its students to online classes in just one week.
Steps that ADCAM has taken to meet the challenges of operating in a pandemic include:
- Increased partial scholarships to 50 families (from 46).
- Transitioned extracurricular activities for Spiritual Empowerment, begun in February with the enrollment of 100 students, to an online platform.
- Held virtual Family Festival in June for children to present what they were learning to their parents.
- Held a “Solidarity Action Campaign” in lieu of the 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.
- Continued Workshops for Families by creating groups on WhatsApp to help families deal with 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.
- Transitioned the Young Apprenticeship Program online, serving 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.
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.
Despite facing the challenges of the pandemic, ADCAM transitioned all students to online education
288 students received a high quality K-12 education
300 youth were trained in the Young Apprentice Program, an increase of 96 youth!
40 teachers received 8 sessions of training
Carried out two campaigns where the school distributed non-perishable foods, face masks and cleaning supplies to families in need
2021 Project Goals
- Provide 88 scholarships
- Increase Young Apprentice Program to 350 youth.
- Train 40 teachers and technical staff.
- Repair and maintenance of classrooms, library, computer labs, having enough hand washing stations