First lady sparkles.jpg

First lady sparkles


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PORTUGAL’S FIRST lady, Dra. Maria Cavaco Silva, was the guest of honour at a special fund-raising event on Friday at the British Ambassador’s residence in Lisbon in aid of local children and young people’s special needs centre CADin.

A relaxed and smiling Maria Cavaco Silva was greeted warmly by the British Ambassador, Alex Ellis, and his wife Teresa Adegas, to the fund-raising dinner, which attracted more than 50 guests who each paid more than 150 euros a head towards CADin.

CADin, Centro de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Infantil, a privately-funded, non-profit organisation based in Cascais, opened its doors in January 2003, thanks to the great generosity of leading companies and businesses in Portugal.

Its primary goal is to provide the best clinical care, teaching and research in the field of developmental disabilities.

The special needs school helps children with a wide range of learning difficulties and special needs, from Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, attention deficit disorder, mental deficiency, dyslexia, cognitive disabilities, hyperactivity, and other problems of a neurological nature.

The centre not only aims to help these children and their families short term with their educational needs but also in developing training and skills which can be useful in the job market.

One of CADin’s key objectives on both the social and human side is to treat these special children with the care and attention that many people in society ignore or overlook simply because they appear different or because they don’t know how to deal with them.

One of the few such centres of its kind in Portugal, this special needs centre aims to be accessible to all special needs children, particularly those from low-income families. To this effect, a Social Fund was set up funded by charity events such as this one and generous donations from benefactors and patrons, including Dra. Maria Cavaco Silva.

Social fund

CADin has a staff of more than 40 special education teachers, psychologists, speech, physical and occupational therapists as well as child and adult psychiatrists, paediatricians and child neurologists. In Portugal, there are around 10,000 special needs children who need comprehensive assessment and intervention.

Today the Social Fund helps 350 families, with one in every three children and teenagers that attend CADin being helped by the fund. 

The centre is close to the British Ambassador’s heart since his own son, Tomas, has special educational needs and attends CADin once a week. Alex Ellis said that it was the first time that the British Embassy had sponsored a charity event for CADin but that the institution was close to his heart and it was “good to give something back to the community”.

Caroline Medrado, Functions Coordinator for the British Embassy, told The Resident that although the total funds raised could not yet be published since money was still coming in, “the objective had been well attained with people giving generously”. 

Anyone who would like to receive more information about the work of CADin or make a donation should e-mail [email protected]