Europe and Central Asia featured program: Portugal
Portugal is situated on the west side of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. The country has a long and rich history. It was the Portuguese sailors who in the 15th century, discovered the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, changing the way people understood the world around them.
Braga is situated in the northwestern part of the country and has been an important trading center since recorded times. In the 12th century, it became Portugal’s spiritual center and the home of the Catholic Church. Numerous cathedrals, buildings and relics testify to Braga’s religious significance. Modern Braga is also known for its unique handicrafts and delectable gastronomy. Wandering through the streets of Braga, you will find excellent pottery and wooden miniatures, but the city’s most characteristic handicraft is cavaquinho, or four-string baby viola, still manufactured in the traditional way.
Portuguese and Mirandese.
Housing is a major concern for Portuguese families, with 65 percent of the population living in dilapidated housing and more than eight percent living in shacks. One of the biggest challenges of Habitat for Humanity Portugal is a common dependency on government subsidies. The Governmental Social Housing Program has been relatively effective in re-housing families that were living in poor conditions; however, support for the families that have been relocated does not exist. Social problems such as alcoholism, illiteracy, exclusion, lack of basic care and the creation of “social ghettos” are not solved with this kind of assistance. Only by promoting community-building and inclusiveness, and through educational and social programs, is it possible to break this poverty cycle.
Poverty housing in Portugal is spread throughout the country. Since the 1970s, Portugal has been a destination country for immigrants from former Portuguese colonies, Brazil and more recently for immigrants from former Soviet Union countries. Thus, the need for housing is growing, especially in the urban areas of the country.
The first Habitat house in Portugal was built in 1999 in the town of Vieira do Minho. In addition to building new homes, the organization also renovates and repairs existing homes and apartments.
Learn more about Habitat Portugal at www.habitat.pt/.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may work on new construction of single-family homes and renovation and repair of apartments and single-family homes.
The homes are made of traditional Portuguese materials: bricks, red roof tiles, shutters on the windows and ceramic tile flooring. They have two to three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom and are between 66-108 square meters.
Braga and Barcelos.
Teams arrive by international flights to Porto and then travel by minibus to Braga (50 kilometers).
The team will stay at a hotel in Braga or Amarante, sharing double occupancy rooms with a private bath. The team will stay the last night in a hotel in Porto, sharing double occupancy rooms with a private bath.
Breakfast: Served at the hotel.
Lunch: Served on the work site or in a café near the build site.
Dinner: Served at local restaurants in Braga and Porto.
Hosting structure and services
Habitat Portugal hosting staff can be reached via email and is available to answer any questions prior to the trip. Hosting staff contact information is dependent upon the project destination. A Habitat staff person will accompany the team and will serve as a translator.
Itineraries are balanced with plenty of work, rest and free time. Hosting staff in Portugal offers teams a warm welcome to their community and encourage teams to visit local cultural treasures.
10-day itinerary (A 14-day itinerary is also an option for U.S. teams.)
Day 1 (typically Saturday): Depart for Portugal.
Day 2 (Sunday): Arrive in Porto, Portugal; travel to Braga; welcome and orientation with Habitat host program staff member; dinner.
Day 3–8 Work days (Monday–Saturday): Work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; Free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; team activities; cultural experiences with host program staff, such as market tours, museum visits, etc.; farewell dinner.
Note: Thursday can be an optional cultural activity day or workday.
Day 9 (Sunday): Travel to Porto; Free time; final team dinner.
Day 10 (Monday): Departure day.
Amarante:Starting at$1,520 (10 days) and $1,760 (14 days)
Braga: Starting at$1,620 (10 days) and $1,950 (14 days)
View the standard budget.
Amarante: 8-10 volunteers
Braga: 12-14 volunteers
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact Europe and Central Asia volunteer engagement specialist Joe Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-HABITAT , ext. 7980