Support needed for Casa da Paz

by PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Cláudia Sampaio, technical director of Casa da Paz residential home for people with mental illnesses, has praised the ongoing support of British residents in the Algarve for their pro-active response to the fundraising needs of the home.

However, without increased support from the local and national authorities and Portuguese people, vital work to improve the conditions of the premises, such as mains water and sewage connections, will not happen.

Established in 2000 near Paderne, Casa da Paz receives financial support from the Social Security for every resident living there and the Lynford Trust charitable fund has helped by improving the infrastructure, repairing walls in poor condition, installing air conditioning, remodelling the kitchen and installing a fire alarm system.

Cláudia Sampaio told the Algarve Resident: “We also receive vital financial support from the British community in the Algarve through fundraising events.

“What the home needs at the moment is a facelift as the entire building requires painting for example. It is also vital that Albufeira Câmara connects our water and sewerage systems to the network of the council,” she added.

People who want to help Casa da Paz can do so by volunteering to visit and providing any kind of assistance that the residents need.

“The 20 residents that live here feel a bit abandoned. Anyone who comes to visit makes them feel happier.

“We also welcome clothes or other goods that people no longer need and that may be useful for our residents. Their families do not contribute with anything, not even with a pair of shoes,” said Cláudia Sampaio.

Casa da Paz, which means ‘house of peace’, was created by Albufeira-based charitable institution Santa Casa da Misericórdia, and resulted from the need to build infrastructures in the Algarve that could support people suffering from chronic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and oligophrenia.

Cláudia Sampaio said: “The residents of Casa da Paz receive assistance for all daily care and health. We work with them in personal development with multiple leisure activities including tapestry, painting and music.

“We also have activities outside the home such as trips to the beach and walks, among others.”

The majority of residents were transferred from the Department of Psychiatry at Faro Hospital and some of them have spent 30 years in psychiatric institutions.

Most of the residents are schizophrenic and three of them suffer from oligophrenia, a condition that they are born with following problems during pregnancy or childbirth.

In terms of rehabilitation, Cláudia Sampaio says that their mental condition does not allow them the possibility to improve and their advanced age is also a restraint for any recovery.

“It is very difficult to make any kind of rehabilitation programme for people of this age. Initially, we had plans to place them into the labour market, but their capacities are very limited and they would not be accepted for not having the basic skills required.”

For further information or to offer your support to Casa da Paz, please call 289 368 567 or email [email protected].