Dr. Daniel A. Weiss, the mastermind and founder of the project, is a pioneering humane personality. He is a graduate of the Political Science Department of Ohio University, USA, with a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Management from Minnesota University.
In the summer of 1995, Dr. Weiss founded AMIZADE , a Portuguese word meaning “friendship”. Daniel Weiss started his project AMIZADE in the Amazon region in Brazil with the aim of preserving the rain forests with the help of the inhabitants of these regions. In 1995, he started work on one of the leading programmes in the city of Santarem in Brazil, where he established a factory for manufacturing footwear for the handicapped for a Brazilian charity organization, which looked after handicapped children. Since the industry for the manufacturing of footwear for the handicapped exists only in large cities, with the help of AMIZADE , it was possible to establish a factory, which satisfied the needs of the city he was living in, with a population of 250,000 inhabitants.
The project consists of a vocational training centre set up in Santarem to train street children and develop their skills to enable them to find jobs that would guarantee them an income, lift them from life in the street, improve their living conditions and create a better future for them. The Project was completed in 1996 to become under Postoral do Menol Organization, a non-governmental organization established in 1987 for fighting violence and exploitation of street children. AMIZADE, with the help of other organizations, was able to set up the centre that offers services to 800 children annually.
Following the success of the Project in Brazil, efforts were made to launch similar projects to train the street children in Bolivia, Australia and USA.
The project achieves its objectives through:
Working in cooperation with local organizations to launch local programmes, through which street children from the participating region are picked up to participate, along with international volunteers, in implementing the programmes formulated for the service of the community.
Merging the people suffering from isolation with more distinguished groups, by way of providing them with opportunities for voluntary work through social service. In other words, the objective of the social service is to help non-governmental organizations to increase their institutional capacity to cater for the needs of the community.
Enlisting volunteers from all parts of the world to participate in short-term programmes aimed at serving the community.
Growth in the number of street children is one of the biggest problems in Brazil. With a rise in unemployment and lack of family support, children generally take to streets. This develops in them a deeper sense of belonging to the street and leads, ultimately, to the spread of prostitution, drugs addiction and other harmful substances among these street children, as well as violence and crime.