Knowing that the Instituto de Apoio à Criança (Child Care Institute) was proposed as a candidate for the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos (3rd King of Spain Human Rights Award), it is my pleasure and honour, to fully endorse that candidacy.
For the past 25 years, the IAC has been an institution of note, in regards to ethical, cultural, scientific and social excellence, in Portugal and in Portuguese speaking countries, and it has been recognized internationally for its efforts in the promotion and protection of children's rights, through cogitation, action, and dissemination.
Led by its distinguished President, the Most Excellent Dr. Manuela Eanes, with exceptional competence, sense of service and solidarity, vision, communication ability, innovation and stimulation of generous and proficient interdisciplinary and interinstitutional interventions, that bring together a wide range of personalities as well as highly qualified technicians, the IAC was and continues to be a pioneer in various projects and initiatives which are extremely relevant and of major interest to the gradual rooting of a new children's culture, one founded on its recognition as an autonomous subject in its own right.
Inspired by a profound humanistic idealism, stemming from a modern concept of human rights as a civilisational acquisition with a plenitude of virtues, the IAC, has the intention and capability to demonstrate how to pursue this ideal, with as much success as possible, in the life of every child.
It does so utilizing a broad range of activities, spanning several domains, from information, raising awareness, formation, evaluation, investigation, to field intervention in the form of ludic activities, mediation in schools, humanisation of healthcare services for children and young people, detection and referral of human and children's rights violations, dealing with missing children, and the protection of street children.
Armando Acácio Gomes Leandro
(Profession:Retired Counsellor Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal
President of the National Children and Youth Protection Commission)
In 1982, João dos Santos published a book he named "A caminho de uma utopia...Um instituto da criança" ("On the way to a utopia...A children's institute")
As João dos Santos himself tells us in that book, the idea for a Children's Institute goes as far back as 1974, year of all hope. A workgroup about mother-infant protection had emerged.
Its goal was to become a 'non-governmental institution aimed at promoting the study of child development in the context of a familiar, social organisation in constant transformation'.
In 1983, the Instituto da Criança (Children's Institute) was born, where the word '´´Apoio´(Care) was interpolated - and maybe it was an unnecessary word, as what could one want of children, other than to care for them? Regardless, the impact that the IAC had and has in Portuguese society, most likely surpasses the impact it would have if it was designated only as the Instituto da Criança.
The group of founding partners - at the forefront of which was, of course, João dos Santos - was a part of a larger group of personalities, which had a very high standard of ethics and skill, and who are very invested in the well being of children, and families. In this group, Dr. Manuela Eanes, immediately distinguished herself, for her commitment, dedication, and capacity for organisation as well as execution.
It never ceases to amaze and make one proud, what has been done in these past 25 years, what the Institute has been able to accomplish in the support of children and young people in need of refuge, aid and guidance. By taking direct action, and helping young people in risk, and in formative action, of new technicians who came to expand and broaden all of these activities, the IAC, acquired, by its own merit, true significance and repercussion, not only at the national level, but internationally as well.
It became an example of what good will and a clear purpose gathered with the best interests of children in mind can achieve. The reports of the IAC are very expressive, in the variety of activities undertaken, and the number of children that have been supported, so far.
And so, taking into account all of this, and given the continued availability that Dr. Manuela Eanes and her collaborators have for proceeding with this labour, I have to agree that the Institute's candidacy for the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos is completely justified.
Emílio-Eduardo Guerra Salgueiro
(President of the Child Psychiatry Specialty College of the Order of Doctors; Associate Professor of the Superior Institute of Applied Psychology of Lisbon, of the Psychopathology of Children and Adolescents; Teaching Psychoanalyst of the Portuguese Psychoanalysis Society; former auxiliary Professor of the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine, as Pediatrist; former president of the Dr. João dos Santos Institute - Beach Home.
Lisbon, 23rd of July, 2008)
It makes complete sense for the Provedoria de Justiça(Justice Ombudsman) to endorse the Child Care Institute's candidacy to the III Prémio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos.
As an academic - Professor, Researcher, Clinician - and, above all, as a Citizen, I want to formulate my full support of this candidacy, that represents what is, in my understanding, righteousness by merit, by all accounts significant .
It is in this sense, that I express, as a testimonial, my profound admiration for the works already accomplished by the IAC, which are certainly, merely a precursor to the endless work still left to do, because the irreducible necessities of children are themselves, infinite.
The IAC, «dreamt» by João dos Santos by dedicating himself, so sensibly and eruditely, to the Greater Interests of Children, transcends the very nature of social solidarity institutions, in order to reach a superior design, of a paradigm expressed by an effective intervention in the benefit of Children.
Honour unto the President of the Children Support Institute, Dr. Manuela Eanes, and unto all their collaborators, for their pioneering spirit, and devotion to a great cause, that makes their (which, is also ours) Institute worthy of the prize of a just and due Award.
João Carlos Campos Gomes-Pedro
(Professor, Coordinator of the Paediatrics Disciplines of Lisbon's Medicine University and Director of the Child and Family Department of the Santa Maria Hospital
The child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. João dos Santos--- one of my teachers, and a remarkable professional, who had tremendous impact in the formation of many Mental Health professionals in Portugal--- always had an "utopia" in mind when he considered the creation of a Children's Institute, an entity which he considered crucial in the defence of the Children's cause. In 1983, his dream came true, with the creation of the IAC, which always counted with the enthusiasm, perseverance, and humanism of its founder, Dr. Manuela Ramalho Eanes.
Over the course of the past 25 years, the IAC, took remarkable action in the defence of the rights of Portuguese children, in several manners: from the divulgation of Children's Rights, to work in the field with minors who were at risk and in danger, and intervention in schools and in youth institutions. Its action is characterized by a sense of civic duty on the part of its technicians and by a willingness to cooperate with similar organisations, whether national, or international.
Amongst the many initiatives that the Institute organised, I'd like to highlight the creation of the SOS Criança (SOS-Children) helpline, its work with street children and the creation of mediation teams in a number of schools, an essential weapon in the fight against school abandonment and unsuccessful schooling.
Today, the IAC is an essential partner in all initiatives aimed at fighting for the health and safety of children and adolescents in Portugal, as is verifiable by its constant presence in scientific meetings on the topic.
And so, it is for all those reasons that it is my opinion, that the attribution of the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos to the IAC is completely justified.
(Daniel Sampaio, Professor of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Medicine Faculty of Lisbon. Founder of the Portuguese Family Therapy Society
Lisbon, 21st of August 2008)
It is with great conviction, that I fulfil my duty to demonstrate my unconditional support of the IAC´s candidacy to the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos.
Mentioning the IAC is unavoidable when one refers to the landscape of Portuguese institutions that dedicate themselves to the noble task of helping vulnerable, fragile children - that were made so by adverse circumstances in their life.
It is also important to let it be known that, besides devoting itself to the cause of invalid children with exemplary generosity, the IAC also does so with utmost rigor. The sense of humanity that inspires its every activity, makes the Institute an ethical mark, generally admired in how it performs its mission, which is rightfully owed public recognition.
But institutions aren't abstract entities. They depend on people: dedicated, competent people, people who are willing to mobilize others.
In this case, and over the course of its 25 years of existence, the IAC owes everything to the unique personality of Dr. Manuela Eanes. The idea, the initiative that led to the creation of the Institute itself, the creation of complicit networks, the contagious enthusiasm, the competent leadership, unending energy, sense of mission, perseverance in tough moments, and humility in moments of glory, are a few of the attributes of this personality which has left an indelible mark on the very soul of the IAC.
Portuguese society would be considerably poorer in the absence of the IAC, and it would also feel deeply honoured, if this institution were to be awarded with the prestigious Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos.
(Professor at the Portuguese Catholic University, former Minister of Education)
Since its inception in 1983, the IAC has occupied a position of prominence in the assertion of children's rights, in the imposition of the duty of acknowledging and respecting them, and in the effort to guarantee that, in an ever more accomplished fashion, they are promoted, and truly protected.
Under the impetus and management of Manuela Eanes, as time passes, the IAC has become a reflection of its President, rigorous in action, profoundly serious in its goals, devoted in its mission.
Focusing a great deal of its program in the support of children and young people at risk and in danger, it has aimed its varied interventional projects at sheltering, providing guidance, defending the health and tutelage of children's and their relatives rights before health institutions, as well as in the social integration of youths with integration issues.
In a pluralistic, interdisciplinary vision, that values the scientific, cultural and social, without ever undervaluing the emotional, its basis being an attitude of radically humanist principle, which fuels a great belief in humanity and the modifying capacity of social and community intervention, the IAC has been doing its work with children and young people in such diverse domains as healthcare, education, missing children, action with families, acting directly on the street, creating teams of entertainers, assuring the representation of those who lack it, ensuring consultations, just to cite a few.
On another level, the IAC has systematically dedicated itself to promoting countless training programs, in some cases favouring the technical aspect, and in others looking to act together with the community itself, stimulating knowledge and inviting people to reflect and act more globally when faced with the questions of infancy and youth.
The culture of rights that the IAC has practiced and the projection of these on the children intended to be the subject of these rights, respected in its own culture as an autonomous, complete person, constitute, without a shadow of a doubt, enough reason to justify our unconditional acclaim of the proposal to attribute the III Prémio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos to the IAC.
Álvaro Laborinho Lúcio
(Retired Counsellor Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, Member of the High Council of Magistrature, designated by the President of the Republic, former Minister of Justice
Coimbra, 8th of August, 2008)
Twenty five years after its birth, the Instituto de Apoio à Criança is an expression of excellence. Excellence in origin, purpose, methodology, leadership, in the teams that it brings together. Excellence, ultimately, through exemplary exercise of social magistracy: doing, preventing, innovating, dreaming, humanising. In a word, loving!
Speaking of excellence and exemplariness, it is imperative to speak of the work, talent, sensitivity and capacity to unite in order to overcome, of Dr. Manuela Ramalho Eanes. It is impossible to disassociate the work from the person and the person from the work. The "soul" of the IAC owes a great deal to her capacity and solicitude, emanating from an ethically exemplary vision, radically personalistic and affection that is humanly unsurpassable, for those without a voice, those who suffer in silence, those to whom society is indifferent.
Authority - true, genuine authority- arises from, and is fortified by example, whether on the personal or institutional level. It is never the result, nor does it endure under mechanical imposition of external norms, no matter how perfect they might seem. Only persistent example is able to pollinate the good, social, humanitarian practices that bear the fruit of the seeds of the future. And this is what has happened in the IAC, for the past 25 years.
As the result of a course of action as serene as it is deep, the IAC is an non-governmental institution that knew how to gain the gratitude of Portugal and unshakable prestige in the international plane. With all merit, the Instituto de Apoio à Criança is a robust institution intent in the defence of children, combining prowess with generosity, volunteerism, sharing, professionalism, institutional particularity, social research, multidisciplinary answers.
After observing that the State does not have the affective vocation, nor the emotional intelligence, or social omniscience, Society has a need for organisations capable of replacing the primacy of strict rules, with the gift of humane sharing and wisdom.
In this sense, the IAC, is an important asset of the Portuguese Nation. It has based its action in the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and proportionality; looking for a permanent, preventive, dignifying solution, through educational and social insertion and the uncompromising defence of the protection of the rights of children and young people in danger. It has always refused a fallacious, reductive vision of a social "poste-restante" approach, where there is always the risk of standardizing that which needs to be differentiated, broadening that which requires proximity and personalisation. On the contrary, it has guided its action with a great deal of common sense: that everything is to be taken into account, and that nothing should be unreasonable.
Focused on the unshakable defence and promotion of the greater interests of children, the IAC has been a pioneer, in the way it fully conjugates the triangle of hope: foreseeing, preventing, restoring. Foreseeing as an intelligent attitude. Preventing as an act of discernment. Repairing as an expression of justice. For all of these reasons, I affiliate myself, through this short testimonial, to the candidacy of the Instituto de Apoio à Criança to the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos, seeing as the Institute itself is indelibly associated with the most profound, genuine expression of promotion and protection of human rights.
António José de Castro Bagão Félix, 60 anos, Economista.
(Administrator of Banks and Insurance Companies, Vice-governor of the Portugal's Bank, Secretary of State of the Social Security, of Employment and Professional Training. Minister of Social Security and Employment. Minister of Finances and Public Administration. President of the National Committee of Justice and Peace, Guest Professor. Exercised, or still exercises, still, functions in social organisms of social solidarity institutions (Union of the Mercies, Caritas, Cerebral Palsy Association, Missing Children Association, Food Bank Against Hunger
Lisbon, 27th of July, 2008),
Recommendation Testimonial of the IAC´s Candidacy to the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos
Born in 1983 from the innovative ideas of pedagogue João dos Santos, the Instituto de Apoio à Criança occupies a unique position in the sphere of Portuguese institutions that dedicate themselves to the promotion of initiatives aimed at defending the Rights of Children, as well as their well-being.
In the first years after it's inception, the IAC developed its activities in the facilities of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation), which allowed us to closely follow the growth and consolidation of its projects. Over the course of some of these programs, there was even a partnership between our two institutions, namely in the coming of foreign instructors, specialists in the area of Actividade Lúdica (Playing Activities).
In its 25 years of life, the IAC has sought to raise awareness, and to be itself aware of the problems affecting children and families. It promoted studies and meetings, seminars and conferences - nationally as well as internationally; it contributed to the debate and reflection surrounding childhood problems, Children's Rights and their best interests.
The Child in Risk, victim of abandonment and abuse, has always been a priority in the interventions of the Institute. Humanização dos Cuidados de Saúde à Criança (Humanization of Child Care Services) (com a Carta da Criança Hospitalizada (with the Charter of the Hospitalized Child)), o Trabalho de Rua (the Street Kids Project), which operates on the field with children from hazardous communities, in an attempt to prevent or rehabilitate delinquent behaviours and negative walks of life. The promotion and development of educational and professional skills in Schools and with families, make the Child Care Institute a truly unique and exceptional institution.
It is the IAC´s nature to be innovative, dynamic, flexible, capable of the most diverse approaches, and it is because of its very nature that the Instituto de Apoio à Criança has contributed in order to give voice to the most pressing needs of the vulnerable populations of Portuguese society, to give direction, and help in the construction of new life trajectories.
As a result of deep, profound knowledge of what the IAC is, of its multidisciplinary intervention, and the role it played in the support and defence of children's interests, we believe we stand before an institution which has an intervention model worthy of recognition.
And so, we consider that the candidacy of the IAC to the III Premio Rey de España de Derechos Humanos, established by the Universidade de Alcalá (University of Alcalá) and by the Defensor del Pueblo de España (Defender of the People of Spain), is corollary of the relevant role in the promotion and realization of human rights, of the values, of the democracy, and of the innovation that the institution has developed over the course of its 25 years in existence.
Administradora da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian