Isabel Goncalves, Portugal
Help-Portrait Lisboa

This amazingly beautiful experience in December 2012 has not been my first experience of volunteering with Help-Portrait, and though it was a tremendous success, I do not dare to say it has been the richer. I boldly say it was RICHLY, as RICHLY was the previous and as RICHLY all the ones to come will be.

As a volunteer on this team, it’s a huge pleasure to experience the emotion of being part of a collective dream, a dream that becomes real by the gathering of plural energy, a dream that brings inspiration to the collective of givers and receivers.

In each act of love, it’s difficult to label who’s the giver or the receiver. The interaction is ever dynamic, sharing the opportunity to give space and light to each actor.

Under the magic preparation of the coordinate of the Portuguese edition, this event brought smiles to hundreds of faces.

Early in the morning it was already visible the thrill of having an myriad amount of expectations to fulfill: a soccer team, a rap band, families, friends – shining grins raging from babies to elders.

The event was held in Centro Social da Musgueira, a center founded in the early 60s by volunteers inspired to help the most needed families of their own social delicate environment – a substandard neighborhood in the suburbs of Lisbon. Their actions have an amazing scope of action, always promoting the capacitation, development, integration and collective growth of the community and human values.

From the preparation of the space till the deliverance of the framed pictures, we’ve testify moments of anxiety, yearning, dedication, enthusiasm, playfulness, generosity, tension, vanity, cooperation and competition.

When all sort of emotions come to stage, we can also sense the truth that each life represents. for each of us those pictures are vividly alive: they represent stories, actors, presented and represented by real people, challenged by their daily adventures.

I’ve seen and felt in the portrayed smiles that luminiferous power of loving their image captured; the pride of sharing with others the beauty that they shine – singular and collective; the feeling of being worthy to be spoiled, to receive attention and light; to be inspired to reconnect to the potential of shinning each day, showing up their better smile and animating others with their positivity.

There is something about looking to a gorgeous photo of an idol, and dream to be as beautiful as he/she is. And then, there is that thing of looking at your gorgeous being standing on that photo, remembering you that you are already beautiful. Remembering: bringing that memory alive into a daily experience.

I look forward to the next edition, enthusiastic by the potential of this event and the effects that it creates.

I’m grateful for all the dreamers and workers that make these dreams possible to be lived and I hope you enjoy some of the photos of the behind-the-scenes.