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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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Young Volunteam "Give a smile to those who have none!"


Name of the teacher
Sila Simões Serra Ferreira
Subject taught:
Community and social intervention / Sociocultural Animation
Years of experience:


Name of the School:
Escola Secundária de Jaime Cortesão - AECC
School Typology:
Upper Secondary School
Web site:


Background and Context:
The AECC is a cluster of schools created on July 4/2012. It has a higher secondary school, two schools of lower secondary school and basic school - Poeta Manuel da Silva Gaio and São Silvestre - and eighteen school buildings, dispersed by the Municipality (the most distant schools are about 30 km apart), which are mostly Basic Schools, some with kindergartens and others only with Pre-School Education. At the moment it has 1655 students with different characteristics, justified by its geographic dispersion. This cluster of schools has a considerable number of foreign students, of different nationalities and with parents who do not speak Portuguese. It has specialised support units for the education of students with multideficiency, structured units for the education of students with autism disorders, it is a reference school for the education of students with blindness and low vision as well as for bilingual education of deaf students (EREBAS).
The diversity of the offer to the diverse target audience is major and the geographic dispersion accentuated. Many parents of AECC students belong to disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds with most of them only with basic education, so many of the students meet in the school intellectual, cultural and even affective needs. The responsibility and intervention of teachers and educators in this sense are great, so the dropout rate is residual. Many students are supported by School Social Action (ASE).
The diversity is wide and the geographic dispersion accentuated, however, these factors are seen as challenges for a Group that promotes self-esteem, active citizenship, defending, respecting and promoting values such as trust, dialogue, demand, work, rigor, creativity, transparency, respect, equality, tolerance, inclusion, democratic participation, merit and responsibility. Thus, this cluster, year after year, formed autonomous citizens, inclusive and ready to face the challenges of society, contributing to the common good.
Factual Description:
The Young Volunteam Program is dedicated to secondary school students across the country. The students acted as ambassadors and agents of change, implementing the actions proposed to them within the scope of the project and disseminating the values of Volunteering not only among colleagues but also among students from other levels (basic and lower secondary level), Families and the local community.
This program aims to raise awareness and to promote the culture of Volunteering with young people as an expression of active citizenship.
Following the invitation received by our school cluster, at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, an information and awareness session was held with students, which caused great curiosity and willingness to participate on the part of a significant number of students. It was necessary to select, so it was decided to choose those who showed more commitment.
Our project had as ambassadors 4 students of the 11th year, and 7 of the 10th year, being both classes from the Psychosocial Support Technician Professional Course of the Secondary School of Jaime Cortesão. Some of these had experienced situations related to the rights and protection of children and young people.
It was our understanding that promoting the theme of Volunteering, together with the schools, leveraged by the experience acquired, to sensitize and involve the young students to recognize volunteering as a fundamental competence of development in several axes, is very important, especially nowadays, when the social contact has passed to second level.
Bearing this in mind, it quickly became very interesting, for the elements of this team, a program with these characteristics.
During the discussion of the activities to be carried out, many questions related to religion, sex and food were raised, since the schools where we intended to develop these activities were and are of great multiculturality - students of gypsy ethnicity, immigrants from Africa and Asia.
In all, 2 groups of the 1st cycle (basic education), 1 of the 2nd cycle (basic education), 1 of the 3rd cycle (lower secondary education) and 2 of the higher secondary level were involved.
The development of the Program was extended until April 2015.
Activities carried out:
According to what this Program advocates, the three levels of education were covered by the secondary school students and the teacher in charge.
After the first contacts, the students involved in this program, and who formed the school team, created a page on Facebook. They were organised into three working groups, one per teaching “level”.
Then they approached the schools in order to develop partnerships. After some discussion they selected 2 schools of the cluster, the Basic School of São Bartolomeu and the Basic School 2, 3 Poeta Manuel da Silva Gaio, and a school outside the cluster, the Colégio São Martinho, previously attended by some of the student ambassadors.
It was followed by preparatory contacts that continued for some time given the difficulty in finding common times, always trying to prevent students from missing classes and bypassing the overloaded schedule they have, since they are students of vocational education. Finally, they took action, developing the activities planned for each working group, by school year and school.
All student ambassadors endeavored to fulfill their projects, establishing the necessary contacts, articulating with the students and the teachers involved, preparing the activities, accompanying the responsible teachers and providing moments of reflection about volunteering, the need to respect each other and the development of living together skills.
Three external activities were carried out, two for children in the first “cycle” (basic education) and one for young people in the 3rd cycle (lower secondary education), and their families, developing awareness and promoting values related to the right to a decent life, physical activity, the collection of goods for later delivery to the “Legion of Good Will”, the "sale" of products prepared by the students to collect funds to deliver to the Red Cross, always ending with a shared snack in order to provide another moment of interculturality.
In conclusion, the teacher in charge and the student ambassadors were trained by the Program representatives and could rely on some materials provided by them.
Two NGO were involved, albeit indirectly, the ”Legion of Good Will” and the “Red Cross”, who described to us their role in today's society.
The balance was very positive both for the students who promoted the project and for all the students who constituted our target audience. The parents who participated in the activities and in the public collection were very cooperative and pleased with the initiative.
Assessment and lesson learnt:
The difficulty in meeting teachers and students in different education levels and in different schools was the biggest obstacle, because it was not always possible to gather all the participants due to the lack of time in common or the complementary and extra activities of some students and/or teachers.
However, the degree of adhesion of the children and young people, as well as their teachers, the involvement of student ambassadors in the preparation, contacts and execution of all activities, as well as the collaboration / reception of all the involved entities, in particular the Direction of AECC and the Psychologist of Jaime Cortesão Secondary School, Cristina Baptista, were so high that they made the implementation of this Program very positive for all parties.
In conclusion, we formed a school that integrates a group with a mission for strong social concern. Thus, we have always been guided by the development of activities that, according to the main interests of the students, stimulated them to the fulfillment of rights and duties.
It is common for students to make contacts with institutions of solidarity, to participate in "festive" days, to collect various types of products for delivery in entities of our city, to prepare and carry out activities for different target groups, especially the elderly and children. Anyway, we already have this experience and accumulated knowledge and that, at some cost, we try to pass to the young students.
This Program has further enriched our practice, as it has given us training, support and opened new horizons for volunteering, always respecting the individuality of the other.
This Program was continued the following year, 2015/2016, following the same methodology of work and obtaining very positive results. In the current school year, volunteer and social intervention actions were more divided, some of them being disciplinary.
Description of the Case Study in National Language:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.