Welcome to the journey

Welcome to the journey

Are you new to the Lisbon Project? Have you been following or supporting us already for a while? In any case, we wish you all a warm welcome to our blog!

The Lisbon Project offers a vast range of services to refugee and migrants: help with administrative tasks, language, employment and overall day-to-day life… But most importantly, we want it to be a space that makes people feel home and welcome. A human space, made by people and made for people.

But who are these people that make up the Lisbon Project? We would like to use this blog to introduce you to some of them: beneficiaries, supporters, volunteers. We would like to give them a voice and an opportunity to share their personal perspectives. Because every life and every experience is unique and matters to us.

We would like to take you on a journey to discover what the people at the Lisbon Project do and why they do it. We’d like to share about what they love and like, about how they see their life and the world.

For Gabriela Faria, founder and president of the Lisbon Project, it is key to see the human beings behind the labels, legal categories and stereotypes: “The word ‘refugee’ is really such a buzz word in today’s world. It is a heavy word, burdened with all our preconceptions, judgements and connotations that we have created. Perhaps we have built them consciously or sub consciously based on the images we have seen, news we have read or stories we have heard. I have learned that the term often dehumanises the other, categorising him or her into a ‘type’ we don’t ourselves identify with. Working with refugees, I am daily confronted with our shared humaness in that my heart is broken by the struggle faced by the other because of the question, ‘What if it were me?’ What if I couldn’t find a house for lack of knowing a guarantor? What if I had lost everything because of the God I chose to believe? What if I didn’t have means to buy my children a simple gift? The questions are endless. And as I try to answer each one, it turns out I am just like the ‘other’. Preconceptions fall to the ground, judgements disappear, the buzz of the word ‘refugee’ loses its mystery. Instead, it gains my deepest respect, my friendship, my love.”

— Peter is a volunteer with the Lisbon Project. He moved here from the UK in 2016 and wants everyone to have the warm welcome to Portugal that he has had.