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House in Order – Social and Professional Integration of Migrant Women in the Area of Domestic Services (Unofficial translation)

Geographic Area


LRA Sheet






Type of Information

Case studies


Jesuit Refugee Service

Contact Person

Ms. Vera Marques (Login to send email)

Contact Person Function

Coordinator of the Integration Area

Project Start


Ongoing Project


Project End



The goal of the project “House in Order” is to integrate 50 migrant women in the labour market in the area of domestic services by giving them theoretical and practical training. The training for each group of 10 women lasts 2 months and is organized in two periods. In the morning period, the trainees do an internship in Casa Nossa Senhora da Vitória (House Our Lady of the Victory) in the fields of cooking, laundry, cleaning and caring of ageing people. In the afternoon period, their training takes place in a rented apartment. The training covers domestic service, cooking, care to ageing people and children, techniques of job search, and psychological, educational and self-knowledge techniques.

Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption

This project is based on two observed realities:

  1. the high number of migrant women who constantly look for information in the employment and training office of the Jesuit Refugee Service and who try to find work in the areas of domestic service, and care to children and the ageing people;
  2. the fact that the office of Jesuit Refugee Service is contacted on a daily basis by employers looking for employees with this job profile.

Most of the women who contacted the office had very limited competences and knowledge to do this kind of work and thus, this fact led to the setting up of a project which responded to the identified needs.


  1. To promote the social and professional integration of 50 migrant women in the labour market through training, both technical and behavioural (during 2 months) in the area of domestic service, cooking, care to ageing people and children, techniques of job search and, psychological, educational and self-knowledge techniques.
  2. To develop a one-month internship in Casa Nossa Senhora da Vitória (House Our Lady of the Victory) where the trainees are able to practice the acquired knowledge in the areas of cleaning, cooking, care to ageing people, laundry and ironing.
  3. To respond to the needs of the population in terms of child care and care for the ageing population. This last group is a particularly vulnerable part of the population because many live alone and need help at home.

How does it work

The project is now in its second edition and both editions last 1 year. The groups are composed by 10 trainees, mostly from Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Saint Tomé and Prince, who receive theoretical and practical training for a period of 2 months.


Considering the impact and the results of the first edition (2013) of the project “House in Order”, Lisbon City Council approved its second edition (2014-2015). More than 80% of the women were integrated in the labour market in the different areas of their training. Of these, 37% are providing care to ageing people, 29% are working in domestic services, 10% are kitchen helpers and 10% take care of children. The fact that the trainees have a diploma, had two months of training and can be referred to for a future position will facilitate their integration in the labour market. The idea is to work on a well-succeeded integration with a second edition of the project.


This training gave a major contribution to the self-esteem of each trainee and to the acquisition of strategies to overcome possible constraints along their life project. It can be concluded that the training gave a specific knowledge and skills for a job, as well as personal and social competences that are essential to their social and professional integration. The training also established a set of mechanisms of closeness with the trainees in order to do the follow up and give the necessary support in the different phases of their respective life projects. Through this follow up it was possible to build an intervention both of individual character and/or of group which not only promoted the consolidation and cohesion of a support network in the group, but also a awakening of feelings of willingness, trust and security. Also worth noting is the relevance of the network of support built among the members of the group which allowed to fight down the feeling of loneliness of the trainees without relatives and/or friends in Portugal. Solidarity was another value felt among the members of the group, visible in diverse situations.

Who will benefit?

The beneficiaries are migrant women, most of them coming from Portuguese-speaking African Countries (Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Saint Tomé and Prince) in a vulnerable situation from the social and economic point of view, with low skills, unemployed and with a major need of adaptation and acquisition of knowledge about Portuguese culture which is essential for the integration process.

Source of funding and Resources used

Lisbon City Council