The informal “A Família Sueca” charity was created by Swedish residents to help children in need through Albufeira’s AHSA Private Social Solidarity Institution.
Over 500 Swedish nationals, mostly pensioners, have found their second home in the Algarve. But anyone who thinks they are only here for fun in the sun is greatly mistaken.
“The Swedish community has been present in the day-to-day activities of the AHSA and is making ongoing contributions so that we can provide better social responses to those who seek us out”, says Carlos Santos, president of AHSA (Associação Humanitária de Solidariedade Albufeira), a Private Social Solidarity Institution (IPSS).
Counting almost 25 years, this association has relied on this community’s precious help for nearly a decade. “They’ve been with us for about nine years and contribute to our work in the most varied areas”, says Santos.
The main focus is on children, and it is to them that many of these contributions are directed. School materials, clothes and shoes, glasses, medicine and medical consultations are purchased with the community’s donation, which varies between 900 and 1000 euros per month.
In addition to the direct contribution, upon their return from visiting their families in Sweden, the “Family’s” members make further donations, especially for children, such as clothes and toys they have brought back.
To strengthen ties with the “Swedish Family” and publicise its work, AHSA organised a lunch on Saturday, April 29, in the Rossio Day Centre cafeteria, one of the social facilities managed by this institution.
In addition to managing this equipment, AHSA provides various services to support families, starting with allocating food baskets, clothes, toys and school supplies.
Noushin Nadjafi is one of the community’s representatives and the biggest enthusiast of the project. For her, “the relationship we have with AHSA allows us to better understand the problems of the community we are part of and how we can contribute. This is also a way of saying thank you for how we have been welcomed here and for feeling integrated”, she says.
A mix of emotions was felt during the social lunch, alternating between smiles and looks of concern as the current crisis and the skyrocketing demand for food support in recent months were discussed.
This is a problem for which the AHSA wants to increase response and of which the Swedish community has become even more aware.
“This partnership will persist because we strongly believe in the AHSA’s work, in its mission, and we are certain that our contributions will reach those who really need them”, emphasises Noushin Nadjafi, representative and spokesperson of the community, which, despite not being very numerous, seeks to be attentive, present and available to collaborate with local institutions, in favour of the common good.