So far, the third was the most varied – and sunny, finally! – week of the whole job shadowing.

On Monday, we met the social worker Maria João. She was our tutor until Friday and, even if just for a coincidence (she replaced a colleague that had a workplace accident), she revealed herself one of the most funny and willing person known until now.

We spent the first day to understand what is and how works one of the currently operative projects: Oficina da Prevenção. It was essentially thought for the prevention of addictive behaviors and substance abuse and consists of programs for individual and social skills development. Then they work, through other things, with children and youngsters in order to teach them about the importance of self-respect; instructing them on how to take good decisions and clarifying the relevance of the positive emotions.

So on Monday we took part in a session about good feelings in a second level class. We repeated the experience, during the week, in different environments and about various topics. The last session on Friday was, for example, in a tutoring class: a ten-people class thought for children with bad behaviors and/or educational problems, into a famous state school, where we spent a lot of time during the last days.

The Agrupamento de Escolas Alexandre Herculano is, indeed, a public reality with distinctive and surprising characteristics compared to others. It offers many fascinating extracurricular opportunities and spaces to their pupils, such as afternoon clubs, national and international contests, a conflict room where both kids and teacher can go to confront each others, open-air classrooms and an open-air gymnastic path too. Consequently, a school where the personal and educational development doesn’t pass just through the books.

We also visited some services offered by the partner organization ADSCS, as the Ludoteca Clube de Aventuras de S. Domingos and de Campo da Feira, Creche Andó– Litá de Tremês and spent a whole afternoon with the children hosted in the SCMS’s activity centre Quinta do Boial, where we handcrafted some presents for the forthcoming father day, deeply beloved here in Portugal.

On Thursday, finally, we knew the staff and the facilities of the CRI (Centro de Respostas Integradas do Ribatejo) that, under the guidelines of the SICAD (General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies) works in order to “promote the reduction of consumption of psychoactive substances, prevent addictive behaviors and decrease dependencies”.

In particular, what mainly affected me were the activities that they carry out in the field of risk and harm reduction. Assuming that the way of improvement is long and hard, they chose not to close their eyes on the evident high number of addicted people in the city and in the surroundings and developed a fascinating project that aims to the reduction of the AIDS transmission risk. What they do, practically, is to visit the addicted hangouts and distribute a kit that contains: two syringes, two filters, two disinfected napkins, two recipients, citric acid, double-distilled water and one preservative, all in order to dissuade them from the reuse of their instruments. I find it so modern and brave! And, in my opinion, the final prove is that many conservatives consider it outrageous – exactly what happens when big changes get a foothold!

But it’s not just work, all in all. Sure enough the week ended in the best way possible: Lisbon, friends, sun and delight.

Carmen