A typical barracas shanty town home near Carcavelos.
The shanty town barracas known as 'mariannas' in Carcavelos.
Desire to reach the Poor
Project Portugal commenced in 1984 and began initially
by working through well established missionaries and national churches
who had a desire to reach the poor people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
By sharing the need in churches in the UK and by promoting the work of
Siloam through its mailing list and through christian magazines, funds
were obtained to help provide food parcels, clothing, footwear and other
items used to help churches in Portugal reach the poor and disadvantaged
for Jesus Christ.
It is estimated that more than a million refugees fled to Portugal after
the Revolution of Carnations in April 1974. Most folk came from the previous
Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde and as far away
as Timor. In more recent times, many refugees and 'returnados' (Portuguese
nationals) have returned to Portugal from Guinea-Bissau. Approximately
10% of the population of Portugal is made up of refugees and returnados
or their descendants from the previous Portuguese colonies.
Even today there are many refugees, returnados and indigenous poor people
existing in barracas type accommodation which are like shanty towns which
can still be seen to the west of Lisbon at Carcavelos. There are several
other shanty towns in the north of Portugal and another centre was located
by Richard Norton in December 2000 outside the town of Borba.
There are today many thousands of people from Russia, the Ukraine, Moldavia
and from the failing economies of African nations, many of whom are working
as construction workers where there is a vast need in the Lisbon and Algarve
areas. Portugal recently passed a new law allowing all illegal foreigners
to stay 5 years in the country providing they apply for visas now.
This unchecked immigration has put tremendous burden on the Portuguese
economy which is why there are so many poor people needing Siloam's help
and the help of other agencies called to work in this area.
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