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The Almost Unknown Impact of Portuguese Social Cooperation – The Observer



The Almost Unknown Impact of Portuguese Social Cooperation – The Observer

The brown dirt road at the entrance contrasts with the flowers that adorn the walls of the main building of the Centro Social de Nª Sr.ª de Fátima, one of more than 30 social projects supported by the Portuguese Cooperation in Timor-Leste.

In the space, you can hear the sounds of music and the voices of dozens of children who are in the rhythm of applause in various ATL classrooms set up next to the Padia church, not far from the new paved road that connects the enclave capital from Ocusse Ambeno to the Tono area in the south.

The project was born in 2002 at the initiative of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Divine Providence, who decided to create here, to this day, one of the most isolated areas of the country, an orphanage and a support center for children.

We started with 37 children, the most needy, who had no parents or anyone to help them continue their research. Today we have 320″,” explains Timorese sister Mariana da Costa Araujo, surrounded by dozens of children of all ages.


Almost from the very beginning, the project had support for Portuguese cooperation, later joined by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Integrationand today the Padiae center is one of the best examples of the great impact of the Portuguese cooperation on the country.

Between 2002 and 2021, through the cooperation of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal, Timor-Leste received more than 19 million US dollars for more than 30 projects and initiatives throughout the country.

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These initiatives, aimed specifically at fighting poverty, included support for two dozen pieces of equipment that are used by nearly 30,000 people every year.

Among the extensive areas of coverage socio-pedagogical support for children and youthfood support, training, social support in education, health care, home support, languages ​​and libraries, boarding schools, adult literacy and community animation, and support for vulnerable populations, including those with tuberculosis and HIV.

The Padiae space operates like an ATL, welcoming children during shifts when they are not at school.

“Those who have classes in the morning come here in the afternoon. Those who have school in the afternoon stay here in the morning and then our bus takes them to different schools. We support three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Mariana Araujo.

“I see children in our care who have access to better nutrition. And you can see that they are well fed. We pay a lot of attention to nutrition, because when children go to school, without reasonable nutrition, it does not help them learn,” he emphasizes.

Educational plan – under the motto “grow in age, wisdom and grace with Jesus– covers various activities, “primarily the Portuguese language, mathematics, plastic expression and music.”

There are activities for children between 1st and 12th grade and even support for young people who receive scholarships to study in Portugal or for whom the center rents a house in Dili to study in the capital.

“Among those measured, some have taken courses in Portugal with a scholarship and others in Brazil or Mozambique with sponsorship and are now working in Timor. I tell the boys: you ate here, so you need to return to work in Timor, ”says the sister.

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The connection to Portugal is evident in the songs in Portuguese that the children rehearse in the classrooms – the whole complex is in excellent condition thanks to regular cleaning and maintenance – but also outside.

In the sports complex, Timor-Leste and Portugal flags are hung on the backboards of the basketball court, and the walls are decorated with children’s dolls with the flags of both countries.

Along one of the wings is a painting showing the faces of some Timorese historical leaders, as well as Father João Felgueiras, now over 100 years old, and a Portuguese who has lived in the country longer.

Next to each image is a phrase in defense of the Portuguese language and its historical significance for the country, including the first president, Nicolau Lobato, Xanana Gusmão, Mari Alkatiri and José Ramos-Horta.

Teaching Portuguese in Timor is an activity that comes from the heart and will of the people more than any other initiative.“, is written next to the image with the bust of João Felgueiras.

“Without the Portuguese language, Timor would be the eternal slave of Javanese culture,” Xanana Gusmão, in a resistance camouflage cap, practically next to another historical leader, a “civilian” on a motorcycle: “We are the target of one of Indonesia’s 13,000 islands, and we are different only because we speak Portuguese.”

On one of the walls hangs a portrait of Mari Alkatiri and one of her historical phrases about the Portuguese language: “The interaction between the Portuguese language, Tetum and faith led to the birth of the Timorese nation.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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