Name: Ana Rita Ramos
Role: Co-organizer of the event
Date: 25-26 June 2011 
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

How the event came about: We wanted to organize a volunteer event that had related to what we stand for Ginkgo, the magazine where I work, particularly in this European Year of Volunteering.

How many people served: 65

Highlight from the day: 65 people have gone through a transformation process to realize human potential. 40 volunteers, including hairdressers, makeup artists, photographers and journalists, dedicated to corpor and soul of the event. The results were extraordinary!

What you learned: The pictures that came out of this initiative have endless stories, stories of hardship and hope, we all can review.

What you’d do differently next time: Next I think will be best to do the event only one day, but in a larger physical space, involving even more people!

Are there plans for a future event? Yes, Joining to Help-Portrait on the 10th of December!

Photographer Ahmad Kavousian was one of the few photographers invited by Gingko to participate in Help-Portrait: Libson. He also shared his experience with us:

“I have an ongoing visual research about street people’s life in north America that started in 2004 in Vancouver British Columbia, and now I expand it farther to Europe after moving to Portugal in 2010.

“The location [of the event] was in Lisbon, Portugal, in a poor neighborhood with many social residences. Many street people were attending, probably 20-30 – I have to say we don’t have a big population of homeless here :) that explains why 20-30 is a big number. There were many makeup artists, hair dressers, photographers and journalists for doing the work, lots of food and drink also available for them.

“Sponsors prepared lots of dresses and shoes for them to put on for the photoshoot and take it with them afterward. They were so happy, cheerful and so funny. There was a huge difference in their behavior before and after makeup, that’s how many bystanders realized that the big difference between us and them is nothing more than a clean look. I am sure when they were walking back in street with their new look, nobody could say if they are a homeless or an engineer. They’ve planned to do it again soon.”

Have you recently held a Help-Portrait event? Share the behind-the-scenes with us.