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Exposição 'Um Gosto português. O uso do Azulejo no século XVII'
Exposição 'Um Gosto português. O uso do Azulejo no século XVII'
Museu do Azulejo, Lisboa, 3 de Julho de 2012 see more: Exposição 'Um Gosto português. O uso do Azulejo no século XVII'


Mrs Maria Cavaco Silva Speeches


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Speech addressed by Mrs. Cavaco Silva at the “Swatch/Portuguese Council for Refugees” social responsibility programme - Casa Caçula
Lisbon, 5 November 2009

I believe, now that I am slightly better known, it wont be a novelty to tell you how enormously happy I am to once again witness the launching of a Swatch solidarity project.

I see around me all those that bring success to the initiatives which have been hatched and grown under the friendly cover of your good will.

I visited Casa das Cores once again a short while ago. It is always a pleasure to see in loco how the debased areas we have watched changing through the years have become a friendly home, functional, a welcoming harbour for the children that need it.

A home for children who are construing their place in the world. And where efficient and affectionate people help them in that greatest of tasks for every human being.

We are, again today, on the bottom rung (or even below it if we look closely at the photographs that show us the large amount of work that is facing us), but past successes lead us to the certainty that we are once more starting towards a winning project. .

And this time a project which has so much to do with our country.

In July of this year we made a State Visit to Austria and my husband had the idea to fetch from the past a happy moment when Portugal once more opened its doors to a wounded world, that of the II World War.

Our first Encounter was exactly with a group (now very senior, of course) of those who are still known today as the Austrian Children.

This was of course a misnomer for the hotel staff who asked themselves why they were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks to children...

This group (quite large in effect and of which some are still fluent in Portuguese) is an association that recalls the welcome provided by our country, in the forties, when they were aged from 8 to 10, to stay their hunger and give them rest and quiet, so difficult in a country afflicted and destroyed by war.

Some of those here today may still remember the welcoming of several groups of Austrian children, organized by Caritas following the armistice, in 1945. Portugal, as usual, said yes.

It was possibly the most important moment for us, because of its emotional depth.

Many years later we were together with a group of people who had kept photographs, spoke Portuguese, and had such pleasant memories of our country in such difficult times for Europe and the whole world. As you may well imagine, all that was said and recalled in that meeting made us very proud of our country.

Portugal is a welcoming country.

Portugal discovered the World and let itself be discovered by the world.

Portugal emigrated so much that it is now learning, quickly and well, to become a country of immigration.

Portugal of the many races, many languages, many creeds.

Portugal, with its heart open to the world, will now have its first Welcome Centre for young refugees.

We all know that, unfortunately, the world has become a very dangerous place and it is our duty to improve conditions as far as we are capable.

We now have a splendid opportunity to put that wish into practice.

Let us place all our endeavours in this project which will build walls to protect the weaker and open doors to help them find their place in the World.

We very shortly want to see this Home inhabited by those who need it so much.

Let’s get to work!

Maria Cavaco Silva

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