Roda Viva, Portugal
Community Centre for Refugees in Lisbon

Since 1974, around 1 million refugees fled to Portugal from its former colonies. The project was created in 1985 to help these families integrate Portuguese society by caring for their specific needs. It is a community centre, working with children and their parents. 
Birth of the Project
This project was born out of a group of friends that, in 1981, decided to join forces and work together to minimize the costs of adaptation and integration of individuals who came in great number from former Portuguese colonies since 1974, creating an educational and community project to meet their needs.

This project was named Alfragide, from the area in Lisbon outskirts where it is located, and had been supported by the NORAD (Norwegian Aid Agency) during its first years, then the SD Network took over.

It is now named Roda Viva, and uses the principles and methodology of the ICDP programme (International Child Development Programme from Norway) to better take care of the child's emotional development.

SD France supported this project since its beginning in 1985. In 2013, construction works took place to build a new room for psychomotor activities, and also repairs needed after the February storm.
  • Development of the self as a complete being, through the self-awareness and preparation for an individual and social life that is healthier, constructive and of self-realization.
Basic principles  
  • Our principles are based on development of self-esteem, competences and family participation, and fight against racial and ethnic discrimination.
  • We are concerned with the behaviour and social marginality of children and adolescents at risk, which may result in preoccupying situations such as: school absenteeism and drop outs, unemployment, abused children, teen pregnancy. So, our activities have to include children and their families.  
Target population:  
Around 200 children and young people, from 4 months to 25 years old, which means a contact with 100 families of communities of small resources and, very often, with integration difficulties.
School working areas are:  
Roda Viva has a nursery and a preschool, but no primary school. It provides elementary school support after learning time (ALE activities).
  • Youth group: programmes for the young people to 20-25 years old and computer activities.
  • Organisation of events and special days for the children and their families. 
Support and Family Mediation Office  
Supports and mediates family households with issues requiring a coordinated intervention, which results in: 
  • Decrease in situations of litigious divorce,
  • Decrease in situations of parental neglect,
  • Promotion of constructive behaviours in family dynamics,
  • Flag abuse cases and parental neglect,
  • Discussion and development of recommendations and reports to the Court.
Social Support Office   
  • Supports the families and young people at risk of social exclusion,
  • Promote and facilitate social inclusion of vulnerable groups in order to encourage their empowerment and active participation in society,
  • Encourage personal and social development, building on each one’s knowledge and experiences, providing experiences of a democratic life in perspective of an education to citizenship. 
Therapeutic Support Office  
It supports children, young people and their families in emotional and relational issues.

Working the emotional and relational components that are necessary in preventing issues such as school dropout, teenage pregnancy or bullying situations, with the obvious urgency such situations require, Psychological evaluations, Psychotherapy, Play Therapy, Psychomotor Intervention, etc.  
Statistics show encouraging results: 50% of the first children are going to university (versus 5% in the standard system). More than 40% are going to vocational training, and only 5% leave at the lowest education level.
Local primary schools say that the Roda Viva children are succeeding better than most of the others.   
  • Regional Social Security Centre of Lisbon, maintaining ongoing cooperation agreements since 1982;
  • Ministry of Education;
  • Institute of Employment and Vocational Training;
  • Commission for the Protection of Children and Youth at Risk of Amadora;
  • Amadora City Council;
  • Parish of Alfragide;
  • International Child Development Programs (ICDP);
  • Member of Susila Dharma International Association;
  • Food Bank and Mutual Assistance. 
What SDFE is doing:  
  • We supported this project since our creation.
  • Our 2012 grant was for facilitating the introduction of the ICDP methods.
  • The 2014 grant will support the purchase of needed equipment.
Various organizations
1985 -