A journey to a new start
Abdulsalam came from a family of jewel and gold traders in a town called Nagore in India. Before arriving in Portugal, Abdul worked in the gold trading industry in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for six years. Although his whole family has been living in the bustling Emirate for years, Abdul decided to try his luck in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2019.
Before coming to Lisbon, Abdul confessed that he didn’t have big plans. “I just want to live.” He quipped.
Abdul was motivated by the prospect of a fresh start. Following his mother’s recommendation to cease trading due to the inherent risks of the business, his desire to relocate to Portugal was fueled. Upon reaching Lisbon, his friend made mention of the Lisbon Project. It was introduced to him as an organization that integrates migrants and refugees and welcomes people from all walks of life. Convinced by his friend’s suggestion, Abdul took a gamble and went to the Lisbon Project headquarters.
“The LP was a huge support for me.” With the pandemic surprising him and so many others at the time, the LP offered friendship and relief in times of fear and uncertainty. Abdul was one of the community members that took part in the “Taste of Hope” campaign back in April 2020. “I needed some essential support at the time and the LP really helped a lot!” says Abdul.
Since his arrival and entry at the Lisbon Project, Abdul took part in several of the programs and activities offered. He progressed his Portuguese by way of the Education Program’s classes. As he searched for a job, his resume was carefully produced and reviewed by the Employment Program, and the Health and Wellbeing Program has continuously supported him in his wellbeing throughout. More than our programs, Abdul has spent many days at the Lisbon Project, bonding with team members and serving as a volunteer when he did not yet have a job. Eventually, after eight arduous months, he secured employment as a football organizer and worked in that capacity for 18 months.
“I also volunteered with the Lisbon Project before I began working and everybody knows me!” he proudly shares.
Abdul is one of the many friendly and familiar faces you will see at the Lisbon Project during Family Fridays. When asked about why he loves this weekly gathering, he says,
Abdul is currently employed in a restaurant in Alcantara. He now intends to establish his own business once more. “My ambition is to open the gold shop again. I need to work a lot to achieve this goal.” He laughingly shares knowing full well that his mother might oppose.
When asked what message he has for others who venture in a foreign land by their lonesome, Abdul has this to say: “Don’t lose your confidence! God is with us.”
The story of Abdulsalam is one of the many journeys you will hear from members of our community who work hard to start a new chapter. Migration takes courage, sacrifice and hard work. We strive to include everyone in the Lisbon Project, regardless of origin, race, background, or religion. The Lisbon Project is indeed a home away from home for many of our community members which is why Abdul continues to be a part of our activities even after securing a job and becoming stable in Portugal. Afterall, the LP is the place he calls home!
If this story has inspired you and you would like to meet people like Abdul, please visit our website for more information on how to volunteer or join the community. You can also support our LP members with donations. Otherwise, if you are just genuinely curious, drop by during Family Fridays (16h00-19h00) and say hello! We shall extend to you our warmest welcome!