ADCAM receives major grant to expand vocational training in the Amazon

ONE COUNTRY / October-December 2001

MANAUS, Brazil - As part of a govern–ment program to reduce unemployment, a Baha'i-inspired development organization in the Amazon basin has received a major grant from the Brazilian Ministry of Education to expand its vocational education program here, with the goal of offering courses to more than 4,000 students per year by 2006.

The grant, equivalent to some US$850,000, will allow the Associacao para o Desenvolvimento Coesivo da Amazonia (ADCAM) [Association for the Cohesive Development of the Amazon] to build and equip a three-story technical education building on its 12-acre property in the Sao Jose suburb of Manaus. Construction is scheduled to begin in December, leading to completion of the building in July 2002.

"This is a major expansion of vocational training opportunities in the region, which is greatly needed because of the high level of unemployment in the Amazon basin, espe–cially among young people," said Ferial Sami Farzin, general director of ADCAM. "Our goal is to strive to improve the quality of life and release the potential of the rural population so that they become leaders in the vanguard in support of their own development."

Under the terms of the grant contract, 50 percent of the money will be used for construction and the other 50 percent will be used to fit the building with equipment -- such as computers, chairs, tables, instru–ments and blackboards. ADCAM will shoul–der all operating costs, relying on tuition fees and voluntary contributions for its funding.

Under the terms of the contract, as well, at least 50 percent of the students will receive full scholarships.

The new building will be known as the Masrour Technology Institute. Current plans call for the building to include the follow–ing laboratories: design, computer, air-conditioning, language, music, ceramic, textile, chemical, environmental, electronic and esthetic. The building will have a total floor space of 2,800 square meters.

Initially, courses will be offered in busi–ness management, social development facili–tation, and environmental technology. By 2003, courses in design, nutrition and air–conditioning technology will be added, as the teaching staff is expanded. A number of shorter, basic-level modular courses, in simi–lar subjects, will also be offered.

By offering courses in the morning, af–ternoon and evening, the Institute hopes to make maximum use of the facility, offering as many sessions as possible. By 2006, the Institute expects to have a full complement of staff, with the capacity to serve approxi–mately 640 students per year in the main subjects, and another 4,350 per year in the shorter, basic-level courses.

"ADCAM serves disadvantaged people who, for the most part, would be without any aid, education or social services if this devel–opment project did not exist," said Ms. Farzin. "It is located in the midst of one of the poor–est neighborhoods in Manaus, serving people who would have no other opportunity to de–velop their innate capacities."