Christmas Fair - 1st December


Countdown to the Network Christmas Fair with our Charity of the Year – Bom Samaritano

This year, as ever, Network hosts the Christmas Fair on 1st December at Hotel Garbe, Armaçāo de Pera. This is a fabulous opportunity for people to display and sell products and services, and for the public to buy those special treats and presents with a difference. It is also an opportunity for Network to raise money for our charity of the year, Bom Samaritano Children’s Home. We begin our countdown to Christmas this year with a reminder of why our chosen charity needs our – and your – help.

Bom Samaritano is a children’s home providing care and support for 36 children aged between 3 and 18 years. Nestling in a quiet suburb of Alvor, the first thing you notice about it is its atmosphere of warmth and calm. The Director of the home, Dra Maragarida Cardoso is simply charming – personable, vibrant, warm, yet with a sense of dedication and determination about her. Dra Cardoso leads 15 paid staff in their quest to help children who have been neglected, orphaned, or abused to enjoy as much opportunity as anyone else in life, and to have as much of a ‘family’ life as possible. They work closely to try to reintegrate into families where possible, and to try to offer fostering or adoption possibilities where it is not. Meanwhile, they provide a safe home for these children, with a suitable attitude combining discipline with care. Older and younger children share bedrooms to support each other, all make their own beds and clean their own rooms, all have individualised touches , toys and comforters.

The second thing you notice is that there are many signs of ‘making do’ on the material side of things. Much of the furniture in the play rooms, the visitors room, is basic and cheap. A plant grows through the children’s rest/play/television room. While the home is littered with signs of joy and acitivity – paintings, the bird mural in the office – you can see that it is run on a shoestring.

When Network approached Bom Samaritano to ask what they would like to spend money on, the answer was clear – a minibus for transporting the children. Currently, one of the buses does not meet new safety criteria introduced by the Portuguese government, which creates a grave problem for the home. They are looking to raise €40,000 to buy a new vehicle, and we at Network aim to raise 2,000 of these through our Christmas Fayre this year.

There are lots of other things that you can do to support Bom Samaritano – they always need money for shoes, or brand new shoes bought in specific sizes: they are looking for paint and materials for upgrading the house: furniture, electronic equipment – the children here are ordinary children who need help, who have learned to appreciate all that they get, and who would like to be able to use computers, listen to music, and be up to date, just like any other child.

You will hear more about Bom Samaritano over the coming months, and for now we would just like to say that Network is delighted to be associated with them as we build up to the Network Christmas Fayre. So do come along and support us, book a stall or simply come along and join in the raffle and tombola – some fabulous prizes to be had – and help to make a child’s life a little more comfortable, a little more ‘normal’, and to support the staff who do such fantastic and worthwhile work.

If you would like to know more about Bom Samaritano, and how you can help, please contact bomsamaritano@sapo.pt or phone 282 459 201.

To know more about Network, or to book a stall at our Fayre, please contact Paulette Fouché on info@networkalgarve.org or phone 915 584 667

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