human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Soul artists fight poverty

"RECRIAR-SE" project at Caritas Setubal

It is through music that difficulties are overcome and the lost lines, left behind in the life of those who have found in “RECRIAR-SE” (meaning: to reinvent oneself) project, are recovered.

They come from the streets, marked by dependencies and an existence made up of fragilities and suffering. They are men and women who met through music in a project promoted by the Diocesan Caritas of Setubal, Portugal. “I started to come one day, and then another and another and now I always come back”, said Paulo, one of those who found in this project the opportunity to feel good about himself and others: “I feel welcome here and I know people like me!”

Without having fears and insecurities it comes an understanding that within each person there are hidden talents that need to be unearthed to reconnect with life.

I’ve learned a lot here and I’ve learned to be a better person. Today I see life more colourful.

Maria, participant in the Caritas Setubal project.

Public speaking, singing, and expressing feelings through music, but also through other forms of art as in the case, for example, of photography, allow these men and women to work out their self-esteem and thus change their vision about themselves and about their role in society.

“We found the reason of the work that is done in Caritas. The moments in which they meet show us that we live in this project, what it means to be Caritas,” explains Domingos Sousa, president of Caritas Setubal.

This is the testimony of the voluntary music teacher that accompanies this work, Carlos Xavier: “The project has helped us to grow up together. As a music teacher I also had to rephrase how I looked at the others in the light of my own prejudices. I think that they also changed the way they looked at each other and the ones with whom they live.”

What happens here are the processes inherent to the construction of any relationship because anything we do is embedded in human relationships; and if people work together for the common cause, it certainly involves all the aspects that are evident in the relations. There are moments of progress, there are other moments of retreat, there are many moments that make us smile, and there are other moments that break us into tears, but we are all together and we know it is real!

Ana Gaspar, a psychologist participating in the project.

“They have met by sharing passion for beauty and life, in a new relationship and with a new attitude of looking at themselves and others – and this is where the new world begins. We can have the best techniques, but if we do not have the ability to relate, it’s no good for anyone,” concludes Bishop of the Diocese of Setubal José Ornelas.

Alternative Text


Márcia Carvalho

Communication Officer
Caritas Portugal

faith and action