Name of the organization: Renovar a Mouraria
Brief description of the organization
Renovar a Mouraria is a non-profit organization based in Lisbon. Keeping up with the community growth, it has been working to improve people’s life by empowering them civically and professionally, strengthening their economic power, developing their community spirit and encouraging them to defend their historical, cultural and human heritage. Here, there are some totally free and permanent community support projects going on: Immigrant Support Office, Refugee Support Office, Portuguese Lessons for Foreigners and Study Support for Children and Youth.
Problem addressed by the good practice
Three problem areas are addressed:
- Social distance between migrants and the Portuguese community.
- Difficult integration of migrant women.
- Lack of free projects where migrants can learn the Portuguese language in a dynamic and funny way.
The target group is migrants and refugee women living in Lisbon.
Summary of the good practice
The artwork was designed, since the beginning, to be exhibited during the conference A TRAVESSIA – Climate Refugees, What Future?, that happened in Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, on 30 November 2019.
During the new workshop cycle, 4 sessions were held with the participation of 24 women of 8 nationalities. The artwork was designed by Alexandre: a large octopus tentacle, built with the trash he found on the west coast.
The Exhibition “Art and Climate Change”, was part of the conference. Along with the collaborative artwork “Polvo”, portraits of the participating women were exhibited, as well as several panels about the process of creating the art piece. The presentation of the exhibition and the WEMIN project was made during the conference, with the participation of some of the women involved in its elaboration, as well as the author of the work, workshop facilitators and the WEMIN Portugal team. About 100 people attended the exhibition, including the Secretary of State for Migration, the Former Minister of Home Affairs, representatives of civil society organizations, researchers and the general public.
The workshops were successful because there was cultural exchange between the migrant and Portuguese communities. This was an easy way to learn some Portuguese language and culture, mostly during the Arraial of Renovar a Mouraria. Because of the WEMIN project, some of the participants were able to get a job and also start a business – there was a family from Pakistan that started a catering business, for example. Also, by upcycling materials, Renovar a Mouraria was able to sensitize people about climate issues, mostly related to climate refugees and plastic pollution.
The team recommends doing workshops regularly (same day, same hour, every week) to create a routine; and doing some storytelling sessions to understand the differences and similarities between cultures. It is very important that the facilitator is emotional sensitive and humble.
More information is available on the WEMIN project website.