A very good evening to you all.
You cannot imagine the happiness I feel today with such a simple greeting. When seeing this room filled with people wishing to be together in a gesture of solidarity with a very special significance, I believe that we all want to wish Good Evening to each other with a happy smile.
Because we see that, after all, when we want to, our days and our nights are, in short, our lives can be made better.
Always better whenever we help to improve the lives of others.
And when these lives are emerging, when our help can make all the difference in the world, it all seems to make more sense.
In the Routes to Inclusiveness, that my husband timely launched, in a challenge for our country to be more fraternizing, I heard him several times, saying to people visibly moved, just as he was, that a country that does not take due care of its children does not deserve the new generations that they represent.
We have the moral obligation to deserve our future.
When answering YES to the appeal of the Aboim Ascensão Home, that for over twenty years has been the haven for children that the turbulence of life has thrown into paths that none of us would wish for our children and grandchildren, we are just obeying a citizen’s duty.
The Aboim Ascensão Home has been an example to be followed in this so vulnerable area.
And the numbers can aid us to understand how its activities have made so much difference for so many innocent children who were thrown into perilous, anguished and abandonment situations by the hazards of life.
More than 2000 children have been attended by the Aboim Ascensão Home since 1985.
One of the objectives of these institutions, which I consider fundamental, is to return the smallest to their original family.
In this case as well, the Home has had splendid results: approximately 65%.
Adoptions, which have been growing, are also encouraging: approximately 30%.
Adding it all up, we can check, and this makes me very happy and especially hopeful for the future, that the proportion of children for which another solution has not been found but that of being transferred to another institution is only 5%.
There is still much to be done, but I believe that the path we have treaded is very satisfactory.
This only obliges us to overtake the best that has been achieved until now.
So much anxiety for such small lives.
What makes sense to us today, at this special time, when we are meeting with a greater objective in mind, is to know that, after all, there are many ways to help.
Helping is good and costs nothing. Looking around I would even say that helping makes us happy.
The Home has, since 1986, a new pattern of work in this so sensitive area of dealing with children which have been the victims of abandonment, involuntary or criminal negligence, ill-treatment: Infantile Emergency.
For those who are not familiar with the matter, I would say it is a pattern of work which allows greater rotation of children in the institution. This new approach put into practise by the Director of the Home, brought an added value to the institution, because it speeded up what is after all the main objective of all those who work with children at risk: their inclusion in society, their faster departure from an emergency situation that an institution, however good and loving it may be – and this one we well know is so – represents.
The motto of the Home is “For the right to a lap”.
This could seem redundant, because we may believe that where there are children there is a lap.
Unfortunately it was not so.
Happily it is so now.
In the many institutions I have visited from the north to the south of the country, my greatest happiness has been to watch this difference in attitude.
I have found so many laps, so many gestures of tenderness where previously I knew there were only answers to the basic needs of health and nourishment, that I have no doubts that, while such homes will still be necessary in our country, these will be, as much as possible, a haven of love which will endeavour to temporarily replace the anchor which the families should be, but at times cannot, due to several reasons which I do not need to specify here.
My appeal is only this: let us give more laps, with greater tenderness and greater quality, to the children housed by the Aboim Ascensão Home.
This is the reason why we are meeting here today.
Thank you for coming!
Thank you for your generosity.
I must however tell you that, whenever I give thanks for the presence of such generous souls in these meetings where the objective is to provide funds to help the survival of these institutions, I am tempted not to give thanks to those present, but just to tell them that we have gathered together for a few happy moments of conviviality, and that we are pleased because we know that our presence is significant.
Thank you for what reason? Our thanks must go to all those people, and happily there are many, who provide their endeavour, their tenderness, their good will, their energy to those that are in need.
To all those workers for solidarity, whether voluntary or not, we are obliged to give, specially today, but also in all the days of our lives, a very great thank you for helping us to achieve our duties towards those who are smaller, poorer, lonelier, less protected. In short, to all those who are most in need of our help. .
To all those, my emotive: Many, many thanks!