25 fevereiro 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Leila (SPEM)

Olá! I’m Leïla, and I arrived in Lisboa at the end of October. 

I felt in love with the city on the first day, and I’m really happy to know that I am gonna live in this amazing city for a year. I love its atmosphere (before coming here, I was living in Paris and it’s so different !), I love being near the Atlantic Ocean, the miradouros, the little streets, the food, the blue sky, the sunset...

I’m a volunteer in SPEM, Sociedade Portuguesa de Sclerosis Múltipla, so basically I’m working with disabled people and my missions are to organize and lead activities with them during the day. I really like it, it is really interesting because I get to know new people, their story, but also their disease and how to work with it, how to help them on their daily life routine, and how to make them happy with activities that they would like. And also, really important, their language (which they are really happy to teach me, cause I wasn’t speaking a word of Portuguese before coming here). My motivation for the project was the fact that I will work with people and for them. And that is exactly what this association is about !

But the life as a volunteer isn’t just about work, it is also about meeting new people, making new friends and discover the city. I didn’t know that we were so many volunteers here in Lisbon, and it was a really good surprise when I discovered it. Even with the pandemic, we are still lucky enough to be able to see each other ! 

It’s been only two months, but I already feel like home !  

22 fevereiro 2021

O testemunho final da Angela (AAMA)


Yes, my SVE experience is already over and, even though it wasn’t as long as anyone else’s, I’m so proud of it. I spent in Lisbon three very intense months, the best way I could, and that’s way I left that poetic capital city with a smile and with no regrets.

From the mountain to the coast, It was a full immersion in the Portuguese tradition, enjoying typical food and music, and the breathtaking landscapes as well. In Lisbon I met new friends, I improved my language skills and I learned more about myself. 

I experienced both moments of waiting and action. I generally prefer dinamism, that’s why at the first I felt a bit sad, but then I realized that sometimes we need to slow down to reflect and have self-awareness.

I spent lot of time observing the activities made my colleagues from AAMA for the kids in the “sala vermelha” of the school, taking notes about their methods of approach and asking for clarifications.
The most amazing thing was seeing how even the simplest activity could be effective for the learning and growth of the child. And, do you know why? 

Because many times we use to take for granted the life and its aspects, so much not to consider that what for us can be ordinary (for example standing on our own feet or identifying colors, forms or our parents), for others it is not.

I listened to a little girl asking for help to get up off the floor, since her left leg, being weaker than the right one, did not let her to do it easily. At that moment I was moved and I started thinking about all those who can stand and move on their own but prefer to sit…

From the observation time, I also got some ideas about the ways to associate cognitive and motor aspects in the same educational activity, but the moment when I found the biggest connection with the kids and the deep meaning of the volunteering service, was when I put into practice, certainly thanks to the support of my tutor and colleagues, some activities I had planned.

My heart was full of joy and seeing the kids having fun thanks something I had done for them, made me feel really satisfied and happy. 

“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have” J.R. 

Today I feel more resilient and motivated. Even though the activities didn’t met my expectations, the time I spent in Lisbon played an important role in my personal growth, making me clearer about my aspirations and goals, that’s why, after all, I strongly recommend it to another young person.

Sometimes leaving can be the best investment for yourself.

As for us, my dear Lisbon, 

até breve!

14 fevereiro 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Lucia (Viver Telheiras)


Hey there!

My name is Lucia, I’m a 25-year-old Italian girl and at the beginning of November I moved to Lisbon to take part in an ESC project. 

In the last years, many friends of mine have participated in some ESC projects, and all of them gave me very positive feedbacks about their experiences. This made me want to be personally involved in a volunteering project abroad. So after finishing my university studies, I started looking for such initiatives and sending applications. 

One summer day, as I was checking out some vacancies, a project in Lisbon caught my attention, I applied, went through the selection process and luckily here I am!

I arrived in Lisbon at the beginning of November and it was love at first sight with the city and its people. I had never been to Portugal before, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I felt welcomed from the very first day. Moreover, when my plane landed at the airport a member of the Spin’s crew was there waiting for me and helped me to reach my accommodation, an apartment which I share with other five international volunteers. 

As me and the other new volunteers had some free days during the first week, we decided to take advantage of our free time and the lovely sunny weather to enjoy Lisbon in a “tourist mode”. 

Then from the second week I started volunteering in Viver Telheiras, which facilitates community dynamics in a neighbourhood of Lisbon. In this period many of the social and cultural activities that this organization used to promote got suspended due to Covid, but the hope is that the situation will get better in the next months.

In the meantime, I’m learning how do the members of the association work together and how do they implement their projects and initiatives for the neighbourhood. Step by step I’m getting more familiar with this new environment and gaining new knowledges.

These first weeks in Lisbon have been awesome and I can’t wait to see what the next months have in store for me. 

11 fevereiro 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Elisa (Crescer a Cores)

Olá a todos, sou Elisa, tenho 24 anos e sou italiana. A vontade de sair do meu país há pelo menos um ano fazia-se sentir cada vez mais e decidi tentar embarcar nesta aventura com SPIN em Lisboa.

E aqui estou, finalmente cheguei, onde ESC não é apenas uma sigla, mas agora se tornou algo concreto. Não mais apenas imaginação, mas vida.

Antes da minha partida não pensei muito sobre o que iria encontrar.

Percebi que só cheguei depois da primeira noite de solidão, onde para me fazer companhia estavam as lembranças do que havia deixado e o desconhecido do que será.

Naquela primeira noite, olhando pela janela do meu quarto, olhava as luzes da cidade e me sentia muito pequeno. Mas eu sabia que mais cedo ou mais tarde daria rostos a alguns dos habitantes das casas que vi e que esta cidade assumiria feições mais familiares.

No dia seguinte, quando acordei, havia um sol quente que me recebia, que me acompanhou nas primeiras semanas e me permitiu começar a explorar a bela cidade.

Passei duas semanas de sol e férias e apesar de maravilhosa, a vontade de conhecer o trabalho que eu faria e os outros voluntários crescia cada vez mais.

A primeira pessoa da associação que conheci foi a mentora que, durante uma bela caminhada, me contou um pouco sobre a história da cidade e respondeu algumas das minhas curiosidades sobre ela. Poucos dias depois, o dia de boas-vindas finalmente chegou.

Os voluntários do spin nos receberam calorosamente, preparando um esplêndido almoço para a ocasião e depois um jogo original para descobrir o bairro Padre Cruz.

Algumas semanas atrás, comecei a dar minha contribuição para o crescer : Crescer a Cores.

A princípio achei esse trabalho bastante monótono, mas com o passar dos dias fui percebendo cada vez mais a importância de essas crianças terem uma rotina pontuada a cada dia. Tendo compreendido isso, comecei a dar mais valor às atividades que realizava, reconhecendo a sua importância. Aos poucos tudo foi ficando cada vez melhor, principalmente desde que os meninos e as meninas começaram a me reconhecer e sinto que agora um lindo vínculo está se formando, onde dia após dia gosto cada vez mais deles.

Nos dias em que não estou trabalhando, saio com os outros voluntários. Estou muito feliz por tê-los conhecido ... dia após dia a relação que temos cresce, tenho certeza que teremos muitas aventuras juntos nos próximos meses.

Estou muito feliz por ter chegado aqui, tenho certeza que esse entusiasmo me acompanhará por muito tempo.