Raízes – Children and Young people Supporting Organization

Who are we?

Raízes (which stands for “Roots” in English) is an Organization focused on supporting children and young peolpe. It is a non-profit organization, classified and recognized as an IPSS (Social Welfare Private Institution), which was formally assembled in 2004 by a set of professionals with different backgrounds on social and community intervention. These professionals identified the pressing need to create infrastructures aimed at supporting and accompanying children and youngsters who are at great risk and vulnerability.

Acting based on the values of Solidarity, Humanism, Inclusion, Competence, Sustainability, Cooperation and Innovation, it intends to become a reference institution, recognised by the values and qualities of its services, built upon a sustainable and pro-active management, and contributing to a more just and equitable society, one which is oriented towards the social inclusion of vulnerable children, youngsters and their families.

Raízes initiated its activity with the set up of local youth and community projects, which targeted juvenile populations living in areas where marked levels of poverty and social exclusion were observed. Aiming to conceive, strengthen and complement the existing supporting networks which surround these young populations, several prevention and intervention programmes, as well as local activities and initiatives, have been developed. At the same time, individual support to hundreds of children and young people has also been provided, so that they can develop their personal and social competences and increase their autonomy levels. In this way, we hope to tear down the cycles of social exclusion in which they find themselves in.

We work alongside with local organisations such as schools, youth associations, employment and training centers, loval government, etc.

We develop activities such as Personal Development Programmes, Sports activities, inclusion through Multimedia activities, Arts and Outdoor activities, as well as professional training and individual coaching.

Along these past 10 years of existence, Raízes has earned the confidence of several public organisms and funding entities which provided the means to implement and financially manage its programmes.

In 2009, Raízes broadened its target public by accepting the invitation of both Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (Lisbon’s City Hall) and Insitituto de Segurança Social (Social Services and Welfare Institute) to create and enliven the Local Contract of Social Development of Ameixoeira, which intends to offer priority and vulnerable groups (such as the long-last unemployed, children and youth, the elder and women) an integrated intervention. Bearing this in mind, several community events to fight elderly isolation have been conducted and training courses for adults have been provided. Furthermore, a 2 projects with Employment Offices were also developed. These projects aimed at those who were currently unemployed or living in a precarious work situation in contact with Employment Support workers, who will then guide them through the whole process of creating an appealing CV, searching for new jobs, preparing for interviews, whatever people need to feel comfortable and prepared to face the world of work.

Nowadays, Raízes provides assistance to over 900 children and young people living in critical areas in Lisbon and Amadora. Through the concerted efforts made by multidisciplinary teams of sociologists, psychologists, youth and community workers, it manages to operate in close proximity to those who live in these very same areas, working as a facilitator for change and social development.

We also provide employment and psychological support for the immigrant population, and training for adults.

Creating Roots for the Future

Our mission is to promote social inclusion and to improve the quality of life of those who are vulnerable to some type of social risk, focusing particularly on children and youngsters who lack an adequate familiar and institutional support. To achieve our goal, we promote projects and activities which can contribute to the empowerment of those we help, while helping them to develop a sense of accountability which will allow for an active participation in our society.

We believe in our children and their value, and we are there for them in both the big and small moments: the beginning of the school year, the enrolment in a professional course, the application for new jobs. We help them control their aggressive behaviours and improving their vocabulary, and we advise them on how to manage their relationships with their parents, colleagues and teachers. We try to provide these children a positive and safe environment, where they can grow up to be happy, both physically and emotionally.

We guide them so they can create new paths, new dreams, new futures…

Sustainability Projects

Raízes also has a distinguishable characteristic, which sets it apart from most portuguese charities – The sustainability projects. These are developed with the goal of financing our supportive interventions amongst children and their needing families:

Bookshop “Crescer a ler” (Growing up while reading) – It’s an itinerary bookshop, which travels to several schools and universities selling the same books as the major brands, while trying to counteract the current large surfaces, maintaining the philosophy of the traditional trade.

Study centre – The purpose of this centre is to provide students from the ages of 6 to 15 (the equivalent to the compulsory education) with the means to improve and facilitate their learning process, thereby promoting their personal development. We also offer students from 16 to 18 years old individual tutoring. With the support of motivated and competent professionals, an investment is made not only in the development of educational skills of those who attend this centre, but also in the development of their social and personal skills.

FORMARaízes (Adult Training Department) – This department was created to satisfy the need for a wider range of offers in the field of multidisciplinary, innovative and credited training aimed at professionals who work in the Third Sector. The hope is that these Actions will enable those who attend them to prosper both personal and professionally.

 “Espaços para crescer” (Sharing to grow) – Other organizations, small entrepeneurs which show an interest in becoming our partners are allowed to use some of the rooms of our building (the costs being shared), thereby contributing to the mutual development and growth of both organizations.

Some organisations have already joined us. Therefore, at the moment, there are only a few rooms available for sporadic events, such as meetings or short training courses.