MORE THAN a thousand people attended the official ceremony to mark the switching on of the Christmas lights at the Refúgio Aboim Ascensão children’s home in Faro last week.
The home’s tree boasts around 2,500 lights this year, ensuring the children will enjoy a beautiful view from their windows and most importantly help to create a brighter Christmas.
The ceremony was presided over by the deputy secretary of state for rehabilitation, Idália Moniz, the president of Emergência Infantil, Maria Barroso, and the director of the institution, Luís Villas-Boas.
Faro’s Refúgio Aboim Ascensão is considered one of the best children’s homes in Portugal in terms of adoption success, where the process takes an average of between 18 and 20 months, a much shorter time than registered in other parts of the country.
“We do our best for the good of the children,” said Villas-Boas, emphasising that the time the children spend in the home does not exceed 15 months. “Practically all the children who were here last year have already left.” The director of the Refúgio called on the government to consider the existing legislation in place, asking for it to be made more dynamic.
Idália Moniz responded, saying that the government is attending to the problems of children in care situations and that it is going to be available to offer support at an earlier stage for children and their families. The member of the government also commented that other institutions throughout the country should get to know the work that is being done at the Refúgio, saying it is an example at national and international level.
Emergência Infantil was created 20 years ago at the Refúgio Aboim Ascensão to help underprivileged children in danger. The home has a capacity for 95 children up to five years old, although currently it houses 70 children. However, the existing vacancies will be filled in January when children, victims of abandonment or ill treatment, will arrive there. Of Portugal’s 100 care homes, the Refúgio in Faro is the largest, with more than 90 staff.