We’ve been here for some time.
We are old but not old-fashioned.
We have been around since 2001 because we believe in community inclusion for vulnerable and socially excluded groups. We have come a long way since then and we have become involved in many different projects and have left our humanistic 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
The implementation of the project “Estacionamento sem Riscos, Arrumadores sem Exclusão”, was financed by the Portuguese Institute of Drug Addiction, through Outreach Teams whose main goal was to work with car parking attendants who were also psychoactive substance users. This was Crescer’s first project in the area of Harm Reduction.
2002 to 2004
We were pioneers in primary prevention of drug addiction and school drop out – “Abandonar a Escola, que Futuro?” – financed by the Portuguese Institute of Drug Addiction and developed by the Municipality of Mação. This project not only covered young people in a school drop out situation but also young people integrated in the school environment.
2003 to 2009
The work of our Outreach Teams was extended to the main psychoactive substance use neighborhoods in the city of Lisbon, within the framework of the Lx Plan (Municipal Plan Prevention and Inclusion of Drug Addicts and the Homeless), financed by the City Hall of Lisbon.
2004 to 2009
We created a Drop-in in Bairro Quinta do Cabrinha, for psychoactive substance users, where people can eat, drink tea/coffee, access the internet or use the telephone. Computer training and fine arts workshops were developed as well as outdoor activities. This project was financed by the City Hall of Lisbon.
We created an Office of Professional Insertion, in partnership with IEFP, in Bairro Quinta do Cabrinha. Its goal is to support the unemployed population by defining or developing their path towards (re)insertion into the job 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 – West and East – with distinct areas of action, which include all the parishes of Lisbon. Both teams, currently financed by SICAD (Intervention Services in Drug Addiction and Addictive Behaviors) and by the City Hall of Lisbon, act daily in the main neighborhoods of psychoactive substance use of the city.
Within the scope of the PDCM (Community Development Plan of Mouraria), a specific Outreach Team was created to work with people in vulnerable situations (homeless people and psychoactive substance users) in the area of Mouraria. This project led to É UMA CASA Project, Lisboa Housing First.
We implemented É UMA CASA, Lisbon Housing First Project within the framework of PDCM (Community Development Plan of Mouraria) and is 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 been become feasible. 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, the City Hall of Lisbon invited Crescer to develop a 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.
2016 to 2018
We received the Gulbenkian Cohesion Award; We started the pilot project of screening for HIV and HCV by Outreach Teams with the support of Associação Abraço and the Gastroenterology Service of Hospital de Santa Maria (respectively).
We received the Gold Medal of the Human Rights Award 2019 from the Assembly of the Republic. We started coordinating the Refu’In project. We opened É UM RESTAURANTE. We won the candidacy for financing the Outreach Teams project for 4 more years, supported 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 Social Prize of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos for the É UM RESTAURANTE project.
We do research in our area of action, to spread technical and scientific knowledge and to implement good international practices as well as social innovation projects towards Harm Reduction.
We want to promote good health practices, harm reduction and community integration among vulnerable populations by acting in the community.
We want to improve the living conditions of legal and illegal psychoactive substance users in the city of Lisbon.
We want to contribute to the decrease of transmission and elimination of infectious diseases (ex: Hepatitis C, AIDS and tuberculosis).
We believe in Drug Liberalization
We believe a regulated market will avoid an underground market, preventing criminal acts which will consequently lead to a decline in associated crime rates. Liberalization allows organized crime to leave drug trade, enabling us to control market access (namely to prescribe, license and control sales to minors). Drug users will be able to do this in a less harmful way for their health.
We want to implement Assisted Drug Consumption Rooms
Although there is a groundbreaking legal framework and drug consumption has been decriminalized 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 stand up for 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. Decriminalizing prostitution also means improving health conditions for sex workers.
Action and Population
We act all over the city of Lisbon, focusing mainly in areas where vulnerable populations prevail, such as:
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 vulnerable 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 psychologically, 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 participation.
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 go towards
Vulnerable people to improve their lives through Harm Reduction.
Rita Santana da Silva
Rita Pereira Marques
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 support.
© CRESCER 2020
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