Associação Maria Helen Drexel - Instituto Devolver

Associação Maria Helen Drexel

Associação Maria Helen Drexel – AMHD, founded in 1973, is a civil organization with out-of- home residential care for babies, children, and adolescents whose basic rights have been violated or threatened, providing protection, assistance, health, and education for their development. We currently care for more than 50 children and adolescents in five houses,offering:

• A family structure with 24-hour accompaniment by two resident caretakers, formal education, and extracurricular activities;
• Care for the physical and emotional health of babies, with volunteers prepared for individual stimulating activities for children up to two years of age;
• Psycho-pedagogical, therapeutic, and educational sessions, and all assistance necessary for their development, with activities focused on the maintenance of the childrens familial ties with their biological families.

This work is done with the help of pedagogy, social work, psychology, and communication professionals, as well as volunteers. Each house has a living room, kitchen, bathrooms, separate bedrooms for girls and boys, and study rooms with computers and access to internet. The institution has administrative headquarters and a space for all the children's common use, called the Espaço Cultura e Lazer – ECL (Space for Culture and Recreation). In this space, children participate in extracurricular activities, such as computer workshops, arts, music, classes, tutoring, and the Leve e Solto (Light and Loose) free project, among others. All activities are given by volunteers or paid teachers with resources from partners and volunteers.
AMHD’s goal is to help children and adolescents to become well-formed and independent adults, inserted in society with real chances of having a worthy and happier life.


As they get older, youth in our houses are considered apt to maintain themselves and live on their own, even though they don’t have professional training or financial stability. These youth also suffer important emotional shocks due to the rupture in living with other children and workers in an out-of-home care system. Our goal is to assure a temporary living service for youth who leave the institutional care of Associação Maria Helen Drexel.

Aiming to protect these youth in the beginning of their adult lives, AMHD will lend a previously renovated house for the implementation of AMHD’s Youth República (Dormitory), decorated and prepared to receive youth referred by AMHD’s Directors. We will establish a Term of Commitment with them, which includes shared responsibilities and creating schedules for executing house chores.