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Zacarias Jose Ferro

Being Zacarias

Zacarias' Story

We all know that the children of ASEM are unique individuals who each have their own story to tell… lives marked with the constant struggle to escape the clutches of material poverty through perseverance and determination. One such story is embodied in the life of Zacarias, now a young man working in the service of the community and the children of ASEM.

Born in Beira in June 1982, Zacarias’ time with his parents was short-lived since they were already divorced by the time he was three. Not knowing any of his siblings who had all died while he was still an infant, he was left in the care of his grandparents by his mother who had moved on with her life, eventually remarried and left the city.
Zacarias shared his grandparents’ home with two other cousins and managed to study until 5th grade while their grandmother eked out a living by cultivating a rice field 40 kilometers away from Beira City. But it was an unsustainable arrangement for the old lady, and it was at this stage that their grandmother sought the help of ASEM for her grandchildren.
At the age of twelve, Zacarias, along with his two cousins, was accommodated at the Macurungo Center early in 1995 and was able to continue his schooling. In 1999, he attended the Business & Management course and successfully completed it, which eventually led to his getting a job as a field assistant in ASEM in the year 2000. Then in 2003, he was promoted to work at the Logistics Department of ASEM, and was reintegrated in the same year to his grandmother’s home and community within the Macurungo Zone.

A diligent and hard worker, Zacarias was given a double-function job as a logistics and executive assistant in 2004 while also persevering further on advancing his educational qualifications by taking part in accounting and management training, which would complement the skills he was already applying in his new post.

After finishing his pre-university level requirements, Zacarias got a scholarship for university studies where he chose to study sociology for a period of four years.

In the course of his studies while working, Zacarias had to attend evening classes 40 kilometers away from the city.


He then became the Head of Human Resources at ASEM, and succeeded in moving on to the position of Administrative Assistant at ASEM. Zacarias finished college in 2011, after which he began to apply the knowledge he acquired in the field of sociology. He focused on continuing and enhancing programs designed for caring for the children and their social integration.

He now works as an educator and as head of the social sector serving more than 2,500 children and young people in difficult situations. He is especially proud of his current position as it enables him to present activities designed to assist children living in situations of vulnerability, and help them gain access to care and support.

To date, thousands of kids under his responsibility have been schooled and professionally trained, and hundreds of them are already integrated into the labor market.

Zacarias finds this to be very rewarding, saying, “Being able to help children in difficult situations gives me a wonderful feeling, because seeing them succeed reminds me of how I once was and how ASEM made a huge difference in my life. I was able to go on this path, thanks to the efforts of all involved in ASEM and its sponsors… who believed in the potential of young people living under the worst conditions.

Of course, I am especially grateful to our Mom Barbara, and I know all of us, her children, wish her good health always and more of God’s blessings. She is instrumental to our development… our growth into the people we are today.


Living life still as a bachelor but with hopes of settling down one day, Zacarias continues to be driven by his mission to prepare the children of ASEM for life’s challenges and help them to achieve a bright future, so that one day they will have the chance to walk on their own two feet, and perhaps even help others along the way.

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