Social intervention concerns, which are quite evident in the goal that guided the creation of this charitable institution (to provide a concerted response to family-related problems) combine, from the outset, with work in partnership with the various local and national institutions and organizations.

The experience in GAF’s daily assistance service and the analysis of the social needs in the District (of Viana do Castelo) have enabled us to confirm the existence of serious shortfalls in terms of social inequalities in various segments of the populace. In order to respond to these needs, the GAF has been structuring its intervention so as to provide answers to related problems and those generating social exclusion (such as drug addiction and/or alcoholism, HIV-positive infection, delinquency, jail time previously served, homelessness, immigration, unemployment and/or precarious employment, socio-economic needs, family dysfunctionality and/or socio-family breakdown, domestic violence, children at risk, among others).

Thus, the GAF adopts a multidisciplinary, personalized and multidimensional intervention strategy, guiding its action/intervention so as to contribute toward social [re]integration and, subsequently, improving the quality of life of socially and/or economically disadvantaged groups, in an attempt to offset and minimize the impact of exclusion-generating factors, while promoting equal opportunities. And so, it provides services that are essentially free of charge (from assistance/monitoring to institutional sheltering), as monitored individuals/families are found to experience extreme economic shortages.

The GAF has been geared toward technical qualification and adopting intervention methodologies that are more accurate, controlled and deliberate. Through the concerted initiative of various modes of intervention, the GAF seeks to create conditions toward achieving a personal and family balance conducive to the co-construction of life projects based on differentiated assumptions. Therefore, the idea is to outline new life goals (that are realistic, feasible, concrete and time-dependent), by fostering a critical attitude, self-esteem and a sense of personal competence, empowerment, recognition and development of personal, relationship and job skills, while displaying individual and family strengths and skills.

Community Aid

What is it?

The Social Support Unit arose from the need to create a service structure that facilitates the coordination of effective solutions for referring and aiding those most in need who do not fit into the target population covered by the GAF’s other services. Geared specifically to individuals /families experiencing economic and social deprivation, this service provides technical support at three levels: psychological consultation (children and/or adults), legal consultation and social support, particularly by giving out food products ("Food Bank"), clothing and furniture.


Promote the autonomy of individuals/families experiencing vulnerability as well as economic and social deprivation.

Specific goals

• Improve the quality of life and the perceived well-being of individuals/families;

• Enhance independent problem-solving capabilities;

• Increase information for individuals/families regarding existing resources within the community;

• Enhance the ability to obtain goods and resources;

• Improve knowledge of civil rights and duties and, subsequently, of the effective use of formal support resources;

• Enhance the ability to manage material and financial resources;

• Promote personal and social skills facilitating overall positive development;

• Heighten resilience capability;

• Improve the quality of the informal support network;

• Increase the level of adjustment and psychological adaptation.


In the pursuit of set goals, the Social Support Unit provides personalized technical services at three levels - psychological consultation, legal information and aid, and social assistance.

In this regard, the intervention is brought about through the following:

• First-line social assistance, for individuals and/or families with no reference officer and who belong to the parish of Santa Maria Maior or Meadela (only pertaining to the social part);

• Evaluation of the socio-economic status of individuals/families;

• Sorting problems and forwarding to other services and/or entities, whenever justified;

• Distribution of foodstuffs, clothing and/or furniture according to user needs and in order to meet needs pertaining to shortages;

• Information and counseling in the use of community resources and services;

• Education and information on civil rights and duties;

• Evaluation and identification of competencies and needs;

• Psychological consultation (children and/or adults);

• Evaluation of therapeutic processes and of the degree of user satisfaction.


• Social Service Senior Officers

• Psychologists

• Lawyer

Insertion Community

What is it?

The GAF Insertion Community, which was dedicated on December 19th, 2006, comprises a structured response in terms of protecting and fostering the autonomy of individuals/families under extreme conditions of social exclusion.

With capacity for 12 users under an accommodation scheme and 18 as daytime lodging, basic living conditions are provided to sheltered persons (in terms of accommodation, a meal, hygiene and health), combining a systematic, intensive and personalized multidisciplinary intervention.


Provide safety and promote the autonomy and development of vulnerable or socially excluded families or individuals.

Specific goals

• Provide or improve the quality of basic living conditions (accommodation, food, hygiene and health);

• Increase the level of adjustment and psychological adaptation;

• Promote personal and social skills facilitating overall general normative development;

• Improve the quality of the informal support network;

• Foster investment in a life project;

• Enhance the ability to manage material and financial resources;

• Promote training and vocational qualification;

• Provide knowledge of civil rights and duties and of the effective use of formal support resources;

• Promote social and civic participation.


Bearing in mind the extent of the stated goals, the Insertion Community provides food and lodging services, on top of a set of activities that fall under various modes of intervention:

• Psychotherapeutic intervention as well as individual and family counseling;

• Streamlining of therapeutic groups;

• Technical support in the pursuit of the (re)integration project;

• Professional counseling and vocational consultation;

• Streamlining occupational and experiential workshops;

• Streamlining sporting, cultural, and recreational activities in favor of the community;

• Streamlining daily household management activities;

• Education and information on social and civil rights and duties;

• Mobilization of resources and referral to community services.


• 1 Technical Director

• 1 Senior Social Service Officer

• 1 Educational and Socio-cultural Animator

• 1 Psychologist

• 4 Direct Action Assistants

• 1 Workshop Monitor

• 1 Cook

• 1 Kitchen Helper

• 1 General Services Assistant

• 1 Laundress

RSI Protocol

What is it?

The RSI Team, as part of a protocol forged with Social Security, which aims to monitor 100 individuals/households benefiting from the RSI measure.

This is an integrated, systematic, multiple geared social response that seeks to acquire competencies in the most diverse social areas, by fostering participation from RSI beneficiaries in outlining the project for change and subsequent automation.

This work centers on family needs, experiences and interests, through active involvement in solving families’ problems. Thus, the idea is to achieve a change in attitudes and behaviors enabling the development of valued skills practices to ensure social integration through the different areas (such as domestic organization, financial management, health, employment/occupation and education, family dynamics management).

To start off, technical intervention is responsible for examining and producing diagnoses of economic, social and psychological problems of the individual/family, as well as evaluating resources, potentialities and constraints, needed for developing interventions adjusted to the population’s most actual problems.

Subsequently we propose the development of educational activities in terms of the aforementioned aspects, as promoted by Direct Action Assistants regarding Technical Team supervision.

In turn, these activities comprise the monitoring and conducting initiatives/tasks in day-to-day family living, in community interaction and in enhanced personal, social skills and those of the other team members.


Together with RSI beneficiaries, develop skills to create favorable conditions toward rendering them autonomous.

Specific goals

• Improve quality of life;

• Increase knowledge and favor acquiring wholesome habits and practices (diet, health, hygiene and education);

• Promote personal and social skills facilitating overall general normative development;

• Develop parenting and family skills that facilitate the normal development of children and/or young people;

• Improve the quality of the informal support network;

• Foster investment in a life project;

• Promote family organization and home economics;

• Provide access to qualifying training and to socio-vocational integration;

• Provide knowledge of civil rights and duties and of the effective use of formal support resources;

• Promote social and civic participation.


In the pursuit of the stated goals, the RSI Team ensures the systematic and multidisciplinary monitoring of individuals/families benefiting from RSI. Therefore, it promotes multi-sectoral intervention, by developing activities in 5 major areas of intervention such as household management, health, employment/occupation, education, family dynamics management.

• Streamlining activities that foster acquiring wholesome habits and practices;

• Streamlining daily organization and household management as well as financial activities;

• Raise awareness to acquiring wholesome healthcare behaviors;

• Vocational counseling and referral to vocational training courses;

• Develop activities that foster greater interaction between the school and family system;

• Streamlining activities fostering interpersonal relationship;

• Streamlining activities fostering family dynamics;

• Awareness to the importance of meeting needs and providing primary care;

• Education and information on social rights and duties;

• Raise awareness to involvement in community activities;

• Mobilization of resources and referral to community services;

• Individual/family intervention and counseling;

• Streamlining of activities in a group setting.


• 1 Senior Social Service Officer

• 1 Psychologist

• 3 Direct Action Assistants

Housing Shelter

Geared to women who are domestic violence victims and their children, this constitutes a response in terms of a temporary shelter for risk situations while ensuring basic living conditions for sheltered persons (accommodation, meals, hygiene, health) in a safe, tranquil environment that is favorable to the co-construction of new life projects.

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Center for Assistance to Domestic Violence Victims

Geared to domestic violence victims, this center provides social and legal monitoring as well as psychological consultation, while ensuring, whenever necessary, the distribution of foodstuffs, clothing and furniture.

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Family Support and Parental Counseling Center

A differentiated service seeking to supplement the intervention of existing family support services, via a (multi)systemic, intensive intervention developed within actual contexts, and aiming to foster strengthening families and preventing physical, psychological and social adaptation problems for children and young people.

HIV/AIDS Psychosocial Assistance Center

Provides services involving psychological consultation, social and legal aid as well as logistical support in situations specific to persons/families infected, affected by and/or concerned with the problem of HIV/AIDS.

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Drug Addiction Support Unit

Its intervention aims to support and promote the positive development of individuals and/or families whose life story shows addictive behaviors (with or without an abstinence period) or that are at risk for substance use/abuse.

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Occupational workshops aimed at developing across-the-board skills that facilitate socio-vocational integration.

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Funded by the Employment and Vocational Training Institute, this provides the community with car-wash services by hand and aims to promote the social and occupational integration of unemployed and disadvantaged persons relative to the job market.

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