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Upgrade for Life!
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Upgrade for Life is a 2 months short term project starting in the end of june 2015 by 2 volunteers from Italy and Spain. It will be developed at Letra - Cooperativa Cultural located at Espaço Fortuna Artes e Ofícios ( , in between Palmela (14100 inhabitants) and Quinta do Anjo (6400 inhabitants) villages, surrounded by Arrábida Natural Park and 35Km from Lisbon. The main economic sectors in Palmela's council are the small industries (automobile) responsible for the main employment, the wine and grapes and the seasonal agriculture. Setúbal 7 km from Palmela) is an important urban centre of Portugal, with more than 100 000 habitants. It’s a problematic area, since unemployment and exclusion are high. Significant parts of the population are immigrants, of other Portuguese regions or foreigners, in a very heterogeneous community, witch, sometimes, create an urban tense environment. The volunteers leaved with the other volunteers hosted by a local partner organisation, in Palmela (2 km from the working place). The main objectives for hosting international volunteers were: - to give an international character to the activities and projects; - to spread the European ideal/opportunities; - to promote the exchange of cultures, languages, knowledge and traditions; - to give opportunities to youngsters (mainly for those with fewer opportunities) to have a non-formal education within is own interests and contribute towards personal and social learning and development, leading to a vocational future decision. - to help in professional/vocational awareness leading to future inclusion - to promote the inclusion of young artists and give them visibility, together with local traditions. - to give the opportunity for youngsters to work in their field of interest and practically experiment their possible future profession and for personal, emotional and social development; - to educate to intercultural and multilingualism; - to be an example of European integration, voluntary work, citizenship and entrepreneurship for the local youth/community. Upgrade for Life wish to be an opportunity of participation, inclusion youth and European opportunities, in contact with the local communities, engine of entrepreneurship and with natural and great conditions to develop non formal educational settings, integrated in the beautiful surrounding of Parque Natural da Arrábida. Its a project that aim to answer, in a positive and creative way, to : - the needs of Europe, by promoting inclusion, participation, non formal education; - the needs of the volunteer that wish to meet new cultures and traditions, learn new languages, gain new professional skills to enter in the labour market and to develop general personal and social competencies - to the needs of Letra - Cooperativa Cultural by refreshing the activities with new ideas in a multicultural environment, by giving "life" to a cultural centre with high potential, by helping to reach the goals of the organisation in the community and at international level, namely promoting local traditions, unknown artists, art and craft and other local traditional products (tiles, wine, cheese, etc) in a place of excellence with huge potential to be "the" art inclusive centre as it was 25 years ago. Help to the recognition of Espaço Fortuna Artes & Ofícios as an Art and Culture centre promoting opportunities of entrepreneurship and an important non formal learning context. Volunteer activities: The renovation of the exteriors from Espaço Fortuna Artes e Ofícios, namely green areas and building surroundings using traditional materials and keeping the heritage of the main creator of the space - Mr. Sebastião Fortuna. They worked painting, gardening and cleaning according with the interest and profile of the volunteer. Both volunteers also worked according to their own will on the renovation of Centro Social de Palmela yard, non formal partner organization of the project and where they lived, as their wish to social contribute to their welcoming community. They can also help in the organization head quarter "Páteo da Fonte" during the week but also fridays and saturdays night, during artistic events and concerts, support the artist/concerts and the preparation of the sound system. Its a very practical project, with results visible in short term.
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