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Targeted help for local residents


Moinho da Juventude, a neighbourhood association in the heart of Lisbon
© iStockphoto

Little children setting off to day care, immigrants needing help with the complexities of legal paperwork, activists working to halt domestic violence or people enjoying a space for different generations to be together and learn from each other – all pass through the doors of the Moinho da Juventude Association.

An organisation based at the heart of one of Lisbon’s most challenged quarters, Moinho da Juventude has been responding to the needs of residents since 1987, a fact celebrated in 2007 when the Portuguese parliament awarded it the country’s Human Rights Prize.

The quarter’s 6 000 residents inhabit 19 hectares and many are immigrants from Cape Verde (75%), Angola, Guinea Bissau, Eastern Europe and the North of Portugal. Around half are less than 20 years old. The association hosts many activities: in parenting courses, for instance, four trainers are working with 84 families with children between two and four. Adolescent mothers are welcomed and helped and their peers benefit from participation in afterschool courses, dance groups, sports and even international exchange programmes.

One area of particular activity for adults is lifting the stigma of social exclusion. People who are socially excluded have firsthand experience of what social exclusion means, but in order to apply their experience professionally in different contexts, they need to be trained. The Association’s ‘experts by experience’ have lived with exclusion, have coped with it and have acquired insight and skills. These they can then use to help others, especially professionals with a theoretical background, to comprehend the reality of social exclusion.


Project name: Cultural Association Moinho da Juventude
Area of activity: Integrating marginal communities
Project duration: 2007-2013
ESF contribution: € 779 026
Total budget: € 9 628 720
Participants: The neighbourhood at large, population 6 000
Country: Portugal
Organisation: Associação Cultural Moinho da Juventude - Cova da Moura
Contact details: Mr Carlos Relhadir  
Tel.: (351) 21 4971070