Conceição Paganele

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Conceição Paganele was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
In 1998, Conceição created the Association of Mothers and Friends of Children and Adolescents at Risk (AMAR) to improve the lot of imprisoned youth in the State of São Paulo. Through social and political empowerment of inmates’ mothers, and based on the provisions of the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA), Conceição created a role for AMAR as a watchdog for the juvenile justice system and a mediator between the system, imprisoned youth, and their families. Through a partnership with the nongovernmental organization Conectas Human Rights, Conceição handles individual and collective judicial claims, seeks financial compensation for abused youths, requests facilities without adequate working conditions be shut down, and nurtures public support for the rights of incarcerated young people.
Perhaps most importantly, Conceição works closely with the families of adolescents in prison, who are often unaware of the abusive conditions of youth correctional facilities, and who have little power to ensure that their children are given the rights and protections guaranteed by law. Conceição trains mothers to lead the monitoring and evaluating of confinement units, and positions them as leading activists and spokespeople for youth rights. Ultimately, her new model helps families ensure that throughout their process of rehabilitation, young detainees are treated with humanity and dignity.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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