By D. E. Finley
In March, 1999, when her 19 year old son was killed in a motor cycle accident, Azenethe Ficker recalled, I felt like my heart had broken into a million pieces. I almost went crazy. The world ended for me.”

“After months of darkness,” Azenethe continued, “I had a vision of the holy spirit. I felt like my old heart was pulled out and replaced with a new one. I became happy again. God had taken my son but had given me many children.”

With the help of her church, Novo Jerusalem, in Campinas, and the organization, Compassion do Brasil, Azenethe Ficker, a retired school teacher, created the school, Novo Jerusalem. It is a haven for impoverished children living in the neighboring favela. Novo Jerusalem started out modestly with 62 children, four teachers, a cook, and a cleaning person. Today Novo Jerusalem has 540 children, from ages three to eighteen. There are 33 paid staff, and five to six volunteers.

Because, Novo Jerusalem can’t afford to have a full-time school, they offer a supplemental, half-day program to teach the children what they don’t learn in school or at home. They are taught Christian values, given tutoring, computer and vocational training. There are also programs in the arts, language, and life skills. Azenethe’s daughter, a psychologist, works at the school, with pregnant mothers, teaches drug prevention, and lectures against violence. The children are provided with a nutritious meal and a safe place to go. On Saturdays, a doctor and a dentist treat residents in the favela community. Several of the older children volunteer at the school and help to teach the younger ones. Some of the graduates return as full-time employees.

In order to run the school, Novo Jerusalem receives funding from Compassion do Brasil, Prefeitura Muncipal de Campinas, FEAC (Federacao das Entidades Assistencias de Campinas), Igreja Presbiteriana Novo Jerusalem church, and additional donations. There is also the opportunity to sponsor a child.

Azenethe Ficker is a life long learner. She has a bachelor degrees from Unicamp and a Masters degree from Universidade Mackenzie. She has written a book about losing her son and starting the Novo Jerusalem school titled, Ate Logo Meu Filho. Azenethe has received much recognition, and many awards for her contributions to the community.

Novo Jerusalem is located on the Rua Presidente Alves, 1252 Jd. Das Paineiras, Campinas, SP. Their telephone numbers are (19) 3252-1078 and (19) 3255-8350. Their e-mail address is

Translation help for this article was provided by Evangeline Lane.

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil Humour: Plastic Surgery

Brazil Humour: What’s In A Name?

Brazil Humour: Sizing Up Shoes in Brazil

Brazil Humour: Hiring a Cook

Brazil Humour: Pet Sitting

Brazil Humour: Driving in Campinas

Brazil Humour: Lighting Up

Brazil: Going to the US Consulate

Brazil: Advice to Dialinda

Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

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