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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 by Mrs. Maria Cavaco Silva at the Annual Solidarity Dinner of the League of Friends of the Children of the D. Maria Pia Hospital
Póvoa Casino, 19 May 2006

Ms Maria Clara Gomes

Ladies and Gentlemen

My presence here shows that children are my greatest concern and of the causes that I elected as the wife of the President of the Republic. They are the future and it is our duty to give them the present.

Unfortunately, children fall ill, too. When they do they need even more care, affection and attention. They need Friends. And hospitals, too, need people to help them, true Friends.

As hospital having the quality and tradition of the D. Maria Pia Hospital, it has responsibilities to which it cannot respond alone. However, it is fortunate in that it has a League of Friends. Since friends are for times of need, as soon as I received the invitation I accepted it quite naturally, for I, too, see myself as a friend of the D. Maria Pia Hospital, and here I am as yet another friend who also wants to help. This hospital, almost two centuries old, is a reference whose history of success it’s a long one, with its varied professional staff to whom I would like to extend a word of recognition.

The League’s activity provides means and equipment, supports the needier families and promotes greater comfort within the hospital. Your example in mobilising society must be accompanied and supported by all those interested in the construction of a society that is fairer, more fraternal and more solidary. Crises, insecurity and lack of love are always reflected in the weakest, most vulnerable links, the children. Hospitals are often lonely places, places of anxiety and always of pure fright for a small child. Thanks to help such as yours, our paediatric hospitals are becoming more welcoming and cheerful, which must be no easy task at a hospital that, each year, receives over five thousand children and where some eight thousand consultations are undertaken, as in the case of the D. Maria Pia Hospital.

Everything the League has done for the needier families is very important. The world is always a scary place for those growing up in it.

Perhaps it is a little more so these days, for the worrying signs of violence against the more defenceless. In emotional and psychological terms, too, associations and non-governmental organisations can, with the proper equipment, provide precious help. Helping children and adolescents, their families and those that accompany them is to contribute to the wellbeing of the entire community. Many of those who are here this evening know from their own experience how out should aches when one of our little ones falls ill. We feel lost and, at times like these, the paediatric hospital is our succour, our safety, our haven.

As adults we have great responsibilities to the young. We have to protect them and give them a good example. The education that we have to give them is not limited to letters and numbers. The school, the family, we all have the obligation of modifying and improving our conduct so that we do not put them in harm's way nor lead them to put themselves in danger.

We know that to live is to run risks, but a father or mother who drives a car in a pointlessly dangerous way puts the health of those that they transport at risk, besides their own lives and those of others and, through their bad example, they generate future offenders. I could give other examples, such as excessive consumption of alcohol or tobacco.

On the other hand, it is a good thing to call attention to the positive importance of hobbies, of the company of one’s parents, of time spent with grandparents and so many other small pleasures of life that are at the root of healthy growth of the children of today, tomorrow’ adults. What a child is able to learn to improve his health will turn him into an adult who also knows how to take care of his children. It’s one of the obligations of citizenship. It’s the creation of a chain of love from generation to generation. It’s sowing in order to reap.

On meeting here we are demonstrating our will to help the children of the D. Maria Pia Hospital. The sicknesses of the younger ones affects us deeply and affect us all, for no family is free from needing the care of a hospital or other paediatric service. And when a child we love falls ill, we lose both our joy and our sleep. “I go to bed and sleep with enormous tranquillity”, said the President of the League in an interview given to the Jornal de Notícias in December last year. Surely she does, for the work of the League, her daily work at the Hospital that she has helped for so long, gives her good cause to sleep in peace and the peace of mind brought by duty fulfilled, which popular wisdom defines as “sleeping with a clear conscience” or “sleeping the sleep of the just”.

Through our presence here, today, and through our generosity, we shall achieve the means to give peaceful nights and sweet dreams to many more children. Bless you for your solidarity!

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