We’ve been here for some time.
We are old but not old-fashioned.
We have been here since 2001 because we believe in inclusion in the community for groups in situations of major vulnerability and exclusion. We have come a long way, involving ourselves in several projects that have left our humanist and pragmatic mark.
To be an organization of excellence by promoting the inclusion of people in a vulnerable situation, into the community.
By reaching out to others, we promote health, harm reduction and the inclusion of these people by acting within the community.
Crescer was founded by professionals specialized in areas of community intervention with excluded and vulnerable groups, and had the name “Crescer na Maior”. At the time, we were motivated to work with a younger target group. We began with various projects in the greater Lisbon and Vale to Tejo area. This became our motto.
2002 to 2003
Implementation of the project “Estacionamento sem Riscos, Arrumadores sem Exclusão”, financed by Instituto Português da Droga e da Toxicodependência (IPDT), through Outreach Teams, which goal was to work with car parkers who consume psychoactive substances. This was CRESCER’s first project in the Harm Reduction field.
2002 to 2004
We were pioneers in a primary prevention project for drug addiction and school dropout – “Abandonar a Escola, que Futuro?” – financed by IPDT and developed in the Municipality of Mação. This project covered not only young people who were in a situation of school dropout, but also those who were inserted in a school environment.
2003 to 2009
The intervention of the Outreach Teams was extended to the main neighborhoods of psychoactive substances consumption in the city of Lisbon, within the scope of the Lx Plan (Municipal Plan for the Prevention and Inclusion of Drug Addicts and Homeless People), financed by CML.
2004 to 2009
We created a Drop-in in Bairro Quinta do Cabrinha for users of psychoactive substances, where they could eat, drink coffee / tea, have access to the internet or use the phone. Computer training, plastic arts and outdoor activities were developed. This project was funded by CML.
We created the Office for Professional Insertion, in partnership with IEFP, in Bairro Quinta do Cabrinha, which aims to support the unemployed population in defining or developing their path of (re) insertion in the labor market.
2006 to 2010
We developed the project ‘Crescer em Rede’ with children, young people and their families from Vale de Alcântara, with the goal of creating alternative life plans, preventing risky behaviours and creating healthy life styles. This project was developed in partnership with Alkantara Project, Médicos do Mundo and Cidater. We also managed an Activity Center and a Playroom with computer training, fine arts and painting workshops.
We created 2 Outreach Teams – Eastern and Western – with different intervention areas, covering all parishes in Lisbon. These teams, currently financed by SICAD (Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências) and the City Hall of Lisbon, operate daily in the main districts of psychoactive substance consumption in the city.
Within the scope of the PDCM (Plano de Desenvolvimento Comunitário da Mouraria), a specific Outreach Team was created to work with the most vulnerable people (homeless people and users of psychoactive substances) in Mouraria. This project later originated the project É UMA CASA, Lisboa Housing First.
We implemented É UMA CASA, Lisbon Housing First Project within the framework of PDCM (Community Development Plan of Mouraria) and supported by the Parish Council of Santa Maria Maior. This project, developed following the Housing First methodology, is targeted towards people who are in chronic homeless situations, excluded from all the social and health facilities, to whom all the existing resources have not yielded solutions. Currently, this project encompasses the whole city of Lisbon and is now also supported by the City Hall of Lisbon and by Montepio and PT Foundations.
Our first Drop-In, called ‘Espaço Âncora’ opened with the main purpose of becoming a familiar meeting place for beneficiaries living in the streets but also in their homes. In this Drop-In are different psycho-social and health supporting services available as well as many recreational activities.
2014 to 2015
In partnership with the Reagir para Mudar Association, Teatro Umano Association and Santo António de Lisboa sports club, we implemented the Cultiv’art Project, under BIP/ZIP 2014 Programme, promoted and financed by the City Hall of Lisbon. The aim of this program was to come up with solutions for specific problems with urban hygiene and low employability rates of the resident population of Bairro Quinta do Cabrinha.
As a follow up from our field work, City Hall of Lisbon invited CRESCER to develop the Municipal Program for the Reception of Refugees in the city of Lisbon (PMAR LX) which lead to É UMA VIDA Project. Its main goal is to work closely with the beneficiaries, promoting their integration into the community. We started the intervention of our Outreach Team É UMA RUA, Centro Sul under the Municipal Plan for the Homeless Person.
2016 to 2018
We received the Gulbenkian Cohesion Prize; We started the pilot project of screening for HIV and HCV by the Outrech Teams with the support of Associação Abraço and the Gastroenterology Service of Santa Maria Hospital (respectively).
We received the Gold Medal of the Human Rights Award 2019 from Assembleia da República. We started coordinating the Refu’In project. We opened É UM RESTAURANTE. We won the candidacies of the Outreach Teams for another 4 years of the project, financed by SICAD and CML.
We won the António Sérgio Cooperation and Solidarity Award with the project É UMA CASA, Lisboa Housing First. We also won the Caixa Geral de Depósitos “Caixa Social” Award for the É UM RESTAURANTE project.
We carry out research in our area of intervention, aiming to disseminate technical knowledge, produce scientific knowledge and implement good international practices, as well as social innovation projects in the Harm Reduction field.
We want to promote health, harm reduction and community integration of vulnerable populations through community intervention projects.
We want to improve the living conditions of people who consume legal and illegal psychoactive substances in the city of Lisbon.
We want to contribute to reducing the transmission and for the eradication of infectious diseases (such as Hepatitis C, HIV, Tuberculosis).
We believe in drug liberalization
We believe that a regulated market will avoid a parallel and clandestine economy, avoiding criminal practice and, thus, reducing associated crime levels.
Liberalization makes it possible for organized crime to leave the drug trade, allowing us to regulate and control access to the market (that is, to prescribe, license, control sales to minors, etc.).
Drug users will be able to do this in a less damaging way to their health.
We want to implement Assisted Drug Consumption Rooms in Portugal
Although there is a groundbreaking legal framework and drug consumption has been decriminalised in Portugal, we are still confronted with consumption out in the open, which lacks good health conditions. Assisted drug consumption rooms have proven to be another valid strategy for Harm Reduction: reducing risks of contagious and infectious diseases, reducing deaths by overdose, consolidating health education and promoting contact with other social and health facilities.
We defend the legalization of prostitution
This way, we believe we are protecting sex workers’ human rights, who are forced to live on the fringes of the law. Decriminalising prostitution also means improving health conditions for sex workers.
Intervention and Population
We intervene throughout the city of Lisbon, with a greater focus on areas where vulnerable populations predominate, namely:
Bairro da Cruz Vermelha
Igreja dos Anjos
Quinta do Lavrado, Xabregas
Igreja dos Anjos
Bairro da Cruz Vermelha
Quinta do Lavrado
By ‘population in a vulnerabe situation’ we mean those who find themselves excluded from health and social facilities, not benefiting from their own rights as citizens. Often these people are psycho-logically, emotionally and physically very fragile.
First of all, they are PEOPLE, just like us, who have specific characteristics and deserve our help and support, such as:
People seeking asylum
Respect of Human Rights
To guarantee that everybody benefits from all the established rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are treated as unique human beings with specific needs and wills.
To promote the inclusion of vulnerable people into the community, by encouraging their active par-ticipation.
To promote the (re)acquisition of personal and social skills in order to empower and give autonomy to our beneficiaries.
To maintain interpersonal relationships with the target groups as the driving force of our strategic action plan.
Maria Bento Carmona
Maria João Ribeiro
We reach out
to vulnerable people in order to improve their lives through Harm Reduction.
Rita Pereira Marques
Rita Santana da Silva
The work we do on a daily basis has been recognized in many ways, one of which is through prizes and awards. Our many thanks for those!
A growing number of donors, whether they be individuals, companies, institutions and organizations, all make our job possible. We are very thankful for our partners and their support.