By: ELOISE WALTON
TO MARK International Day for the Disabled on Monday, an association for disabled children and young adults opened their annual Christmas bazaar in Faro.
Isilda Gomes, Civil Governor of Faro, was present for the inauguration of the bazaar for the Associação Algarvia de Pais e Amigos de Crianças Diminuidas Mentais (AAPACDM). “The initiative of opening this bazaar is extraordinary and
it will allow the public to learn more about the association,” said Isilda Gomes.
Dr Eliane Cruz, president of the association, thanked all who had attended, including the Clube Farence for donating the shop space for December. Dr Eliane also spoke of the new projects the association hopes to work on in the coming year. “As we are celebrating our 40th anniversary, we feel the need to rejuvenate and are looking to start a crèche as well as develop a home help service for the disabled and move to new headquarters,” she said.
After the opening of the bazaar, Dr Eliane gave a tour around the association’s facilities, which include classrooms for a variety of practical subjects for the students to learn. “As well as offering a weekday residential facility for 12 of our 104 students, we also offer professional training,” she said. “We have classrooms for carpentry, ceramics and training to become an electrician.” The association also has a small gymnasium and organises swimming lessons for the students.
“One of our students won the silver medal at the adapted swimming world championships last year and this year he is having daily personal training for the competition,” said Dr Eliane Cruz.
During the morning, Susan Kelly, a parent who volunteers her time for the association, spoke to The Resident about her experience of finding a suitable educational facility for her son Selwyn, now 24, who has Asperger’s syndrome.
“I adopted Selwyn and his brother Ross when they were just days old from Brazil, but it was only when Selwyn was two years old that I realised he was not developing like his brother,” said Susan Kelly. “I have been living in Portugal for 21 years now, but finding adequate education for Selwyn has been very difficult.”
Susan told The Resident that because her son was different, he was not welcome to join a mainstream school and she was left to find him alternative education.
“Selwyn is now learning to be a gardener with the association, with practical experience from a local company.” As well as a profession, Selwyn has also been taught skills such as the value of money and how to use it.
The Christmas bazaar can be found on Rua de St António, n°30 in Faro and will be open weekdays between 10am and 6pm and Saturdays between 10am and 1pm until December 21. All of the money made by the bazaar, which will be run by students of the association and volunteers, will revert back to the association.
If you would like to volunteer or help the association in any way, please telephone 289 880 700.
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