Single Mothers Association of Pernambuco – Apemas

Motherhood beyond fences, women and the pursuit of affective and family ties


Objectives and target audience

Ensure the acknowledgement of paternity to at least a thousand children, through the interaction with women, wives, partners, prisoners and ex-wives of prisoners to strengthen the emotional ties and family.

Main activities

Elaboration of a Communication and Marketing Plan.

Hiring a Communication Advisor.

Leaflet distribution with families: women, mothers, sisters, children, wives, companions and prisoners.

Raising awareness of detainees through debates, lectures and seminars, as well as through personal contacts.

Elaboration of print material (brochures, flyers, banner, etc.).

Meeting with SERES – Resocialization Secretariat and the directors of 6 prisons.

Dissemination of information and debate on the legislation.

Periodic visits to prisons, leaflet distribution and meetings with the management of prisons and with partner organizations.

Establishing the identification status and preparing detainees’ documents to arrange for the acknowledgement of paternity.

Evaluation interview with detainees and data collection to be disseminated by the press.


Document preparation with a view to lobbying the Judiciary and Legislative powers to enable one permanent action of Justice in at least one of the prisons assisted by the project.

Collective work to prepare registrations and copies of the detainees’ documents to be sent to registry offices.

Drafting petitions.


Many detainees will spend a long time serving sentences and their spouses want to take their children to visit them. These same detainees also want to get to know their children. Without parents’ legal recognition, it is impossible for the children to enter the prisons. On the other hand, women won’t register these children as single mothers, once they hope this situation changes and they are able to get their children’s fathers acknowledgment of paternity. These children end up not having birth certificates for periods longer than a year. On the other hand, due to being in prison, many of these fathers fear they have been cheated and that the child is not theirs. We need to promote debates that are able to enlighten and raise awareness about this situation in prisons and find ways to involve sectors of Justice in these efforts to provide access to basic rights to these families, who are completely marginalized and need legal support.

About the organization

Apemas works with the prison community since 2011, when it held a campaign to promote voluntary acknowledgement of paternity called “Be your child’s hero” in partnership with the Public Defender’s office of Pernambuco, the Magistrate of Justice of the State of Pernambuco, the State Department of Children and Youth, the Court of Justice and the Public Ministry. The result was the opening of 200 paternity cases within five prisons. Since then, mother started seeking Apemas to help solve the paternity acknowledgments.


Pernambuco Women's Forum.
Women from the Outskirts.
Ashoka Network.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted

R$ 40,000.00


12 months

Main Themes

Women’s Rights

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