Meaningful Travel - Europe - Portugal Volunteer Program
Volunteer in Portugal

Building with earth
Montemor-o-Novo, Evora       August 27 - September 7, 2018

Volunteer project: This project aims to awaken youth for the traditional building techniques and the surrounding built heritage. It is a Hands-on-Approach in ancient building techniques, especially raw earth (adobe, rammed earth, CSEB (Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks), earth plasters), fired earth as well as lime mortars and plasters. During the project we will act in public spaces built structures repairing and maintaining. Cooperation, communication, self-esteem, problem solving, risk evaluation, leadership and decision making are competences that we need in order to work together while building for and with the local community. The working environment is relaxed, in the heart of an artistic city.

Volunteer activities: Learn about and repair traditional lime plasters and paintings; Learn about and experience traditional handmade fired and raw earth brick production, clay preparation and application; Repair traditional terracotta brick structures (removing vegetation, cleaning and applying natural waterproof coatings); Learn about and repair rammed earth structures; Act to preserve raw earth plasters; Cleaning and organizing working areas and tools used during the activities; Take part in social activities in the neighbourhood and prepare public spaces for future interventions.

Language: English

Free time activities: Ceramics - make your own clay project and take it home – from modeling until firing, Group games, Opinion round tables, Yoga, Open Air Cinema, Landscape walks (Montado Landscape, visiting the megalithic heritage and the city of Évora), Concerts of national artists in the local annual fair.

Accommodation: Shared rooms in an old convent

Location: Montemor-o-Novo, a small town in Alentejo region, near the city of Evora (20 minutes by bus)

Terminal: Montemor-o-Novo

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Promotion and maintenance of the historic Douro-Varosa Trail
Lamego, Viseu       September 1 - September 10, 2018

Volunteer project: The historic Douro-Varosa Trail is located in the north of Portugal, starts in Peso da Régua, goes through Lamego and ends in São João de Tarouca, always along the river and with a great natural beauty. This trail crosses the Douro Valley, overlooking the surrounding mountains covered with vineyards and the river that flows at its feet and the Varosa Valley surrounded by the patrimony of the Cister Order. Last year we made the marking and cleaning of the route, this year we intend to work on the international promotion of the route.

This year's project tasks will be cleaning and maintenance of the route and signs; GPS route marking; making a photographic record of the natural beauty and landscape of the trail, as well as of the buildings that are part of the cultural heritage of the region; promotion on social networks; cleaning and maintenance of the forest.
Besides, we aim to provide a different experience for young people as it gives them the opportunity to learn about new sources of development, about a new culture and do practical work while getting to know the history of Portugal and its interior.

Language: English

Free time activities: Recreational and cultural exchanges with local residents, intercultural learning, cultural enrichment through visits in the region (Porto, Lamego, Régua, Pinhão and Douro valley) and leisure and environmental improvement activities. There will be also a traditional party, night game, gastronomic show and workshop, musical night, stars observation, farewell party.

Accommodation: In a building equipped with bunk beds.

Location: The project is located approximately 5km from Lamego and near the Douro region. Várzea de Abrunhais, where the chapel is located, beside Vila Pouca de Salzedas and next to Varosa river, is a rural village known for its great natural beauty.

Terminal: Porto or Lisbon

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Protecting forests against fires
Lousada, Porto       September 3 - September 12, 2018

Volunteer project: In this project, international volunteers will collaborate with a local environmental association which is committed to bringing nature and biodiversity to all. The general objectives of the project are: Prevention of the forest and the population against fire; Promotion of sustainability, environmental awareness, and biodiversity protection; Promotion of intercultural relationships, good environmental practices, and citizenship; Promotion of specific skills in the field of environmental management, nature protection and biodiversity.

Participants will perform environmental tasks and will also learn about nature conservation and engage in conservation-training activities in a forest near Lustosa (Lousada) which needs intervention in order to make it more resilient and fire-prepared. This forest also has an important role in protecting Lustosa village and Lousada against fires, since it has water and may also function as an ecological corridor/shelter for fauna. Volunteers' specific tasks include:
- Protection of the forests surrounding the village of Lustosa and Lousada (northern Portugal) against forest fires;
- Control of pyrophyte alien invasive species;
- Management of fuelwood;
- Construction of a water point for irrigation / control of possible fires;
- Rehabilitation of a degraded system for water transportation;
- Restoration of a small riparian forest;
- Improvement of local fauna, flora, and landscape;
- Encouragement of international exchange and exchange of experience;
- Presentation and discussion of the natural and social reality of the regions of origin of the participants;
- Promotion of environmentally and socially responsible attitudes and values;
- Development of action-training actions focused on individual and collective learning.

Language: English

Free time activities: Visit to Guimarães, a UNESCO world heritage city, cultural and environmental tours, fauna (bats, amphibians, birds) and flora observation, visit to Mata de Vilar.

Accommodation: Participants will sleep in Lousada Sports Center, in shared bedrooms (4, 5 or 9 beds)

Location: Lousada, Porto district, in northern Portugal

Terminal: Lisbon or Porto

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Reforestation and fire prevention in Algarve
Odiaxere, Faro       September 10 - September 21, 2018

Volunteer project: Help us create new forests and take care of old ones in areas damaged by human activity and wildfires in Portugal. Together, we will plant trees, shaping the landscape, feeding the soil, and acting to prevent fire, so that young forests can survive the hot summers and offer shade, water, and natural spaces to future generations of people and wildlife.

Volunteers will be engaged in the following activities and tasks:
• Preparing for reforestation: Working on an ecologically degraded area, we will use techniques for soil and water management to create conditions in which trees can survive. We will start a tree nursery, and start planting local species in a few places where watering is possible.
• Fire Prevention: We will decrease the risk of fire in a young native oak woodland, protecting and watering young trees, cleaning out dead branches, preparing for new plantations, and making signs with information about the reforested areas.
• Event Support: We will help with the organization of Open Day and Pizza Night events, by preparing spaces for the events, making crafts from natural materials (wool, willow, cork, wood) for the reforestation fundraiser, and creating educ-art: images, music, poetry etc. to present at events to educate the public about the value of native forest.

In this project we will also explore together the relationship between nature and culture through these activities:
• Nature Connection: We will have a day out and a few afternoons to visit places in the Algarve that are protected nature areas and places of traditional culture, and have opportunities to do walks, bicycle rides, and canoeing close to the camp.
• Group dynamics: We will start and end the day with opportunities for sharing and group decision-making, and everyone will participate in planning events, in observing, presenting, and evaluating the project results.
• Social and leisure activities: Together we will prepare evening activities; Cultural nights sharing cuisine and culture of participants’ countries; Games nights, and celebrations.

Language: English

Free time activities: You can go to the beach and visit Ria do Alvor estuary, an unique ecosystem of sand dunes.

Accommodation: Participants will be camping. We have tents available but if you wish you can bring your own. The diet will be healthy, local and organic.

Location: Odiaxere, Lagos

Terminal: Faro, Lagos

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Environmental restoration on the banks of Sao Joao river
Lousã, Coimbra       September 17 - September 28, 2018

Volunteer project: A project for the discovery of the São João river! The general aims of the project are to highlight the value the river of São João, its mills and waterfalls; to make known the cultural and natural heritage of Serra da Lousã and the region; to recover trails on the banks of the São João river; to promote the planting of native species.

Volunteer activities:
• Cutting small trees using hand tools
• Storage and transportation of small logs
• Arrangement of a trail that was destroyed by fire
• Promotion of activities for the local community
• Cutting acacia shoots (an invasive plant) as a way to stop their growth
• Preparing a plot of land for subsequent planting of native species

Language: English

Free time activities: In the free time, the group will have the opportunity to get to know Coimbra and the old University, the river beaches in Lousã and in the evenings participate in some cultural activities with the local community.

Accommodation: The participants will be lodged in a youth hostel in the center of Lousã. They will have free access to the municipal swimming pool.

Location: Lousã is located 30 km from the city of Coimbra, in the central part of Portugal.

Terminal: Lisbon or Porto

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Promote Fair Trade and organic farming in Amarante
Amarante, Porto       September 19 - September 30, 2018

Volunteer project: This volunteer project in Amarante is intended to raise awareness among the international participants and the local population on organic farms, organic food and fair trade. The volunteers will develop skills related to agriculture work in organic farms and environment preservation.

The volunteers will be helping on organic farms in the region of Amarante. They will be in direct contact with local organic producers and will work with them The volunteers will also get a training on fair trade and sustainable development (e.g. workshop on Fair Trade and healthy food). The group will run different activities and presentations in order to increase the level of commitment at local level (Amarante) for organic and fair trade products.

Language: English

Free time activities: Visits to some of the main cities and spots in the North of Portugal (Guimarães, Porto, Parque Natural do Alvão).

Accommodation: Participants will be accommodated in shared rooms (4 participants each) in the Youth Center of Amarante. Sleeping bag is needed.

Location: Amarante is a small town in the North of Portugal, part of Porto district (60 km far from Porto, to the interior) with 12.000 inhabitants. It is quite a famous city for tourism, culture and wine production. Indeed it is very close (18 km) to the Oporto wine region. It is crossed by Tâmega River (one of the rivers ending at Douro River that crosses Porto till the Atlantic ocean) and is in the valley of one of the most important Portuguese mountains, Marão (1450 m). Amarante is well located (nearby passes highway A4 connecting to Oporto and highway A11 connecting to Guimarães) and has a good public transport system (bus station). The city is 40 min away from the nearest airport (Oporto) by car.

Terminal: Porto

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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