Spin Association: Giving Young People a Remarkable Lisbon Experience

Spin Association are bringing people from across the world to Lisbon as they search for life-defining memories. We sat down with them to find out more.

The word “Spin”, which an organisation in Lisbon, Portugal has incorporated in its name, reflects its mission because of its international dimension and for its meaning – to rotate, to spin. 

“It is what the Earth does without ceasing and, metaphorically, it is what we also intend to do to society, to our lives and to those with whom we work or will come to work – to move, to contribute to change and to continuous movement.”, Nelson Tavares, Project Co-ordinator at Spin Association, says in the beginning of his interview with Youth Time.  

Spin Association is a space for exchange, training and co-operation, with a goal to promote and defend inter-cultural dialogue, human rights, equal opportunities, solidarity and social inclusion.  

Founded in 2008, SPIN is a non-profit, non-governmental development association, whose fundamental objectives are to promote and defend intercultural dialogue, human rights, equal opportunities, solidarity and social inclusion, by carrying out international mobility projects and educational activities through local and international training, exchange and cooperation projects, especially targeted at young people facing social difficulties.  

Even though it is a small NGO, Spin Association has around 300 young member associates.

In this piece, among others, Tavares speaks about two important initiatives: Spin Hostel and Live it Lisbon!    


13 Years of Empowering Young People

He shares SPIN’s determination to empower youngsters, especially those pertaining to marginalized social groups, who face different social exclusion, in order to widen their horizons, develop their personal and professional growth and expand their European and global awareness and active citizenship.

“Born from the common will of a group of people with experience in the management of international projects in training, volunteering and co-operation, Spin Association supports inter-cultural and active citizenship.”  

Spin Association has been the applicant, hosting, coordinating and sending partner of several successful international events over the past 13 years.  

“Our key activities include international projects such as youth exchanges, voluntary service, internships abroad and training courses for young people with fewer opportunities, young leaders and youth workers.”

SPIN is active in promoting work camps, organising information sessions about youth opportunities and both leading and co-managing local community projects for social inclusion of marginalised people.

Spin Association it’s also a multiplier member of Euro Desk, a European youth information network. 

They provide information, guidance and advice on European mobility opportunities and initiatives to organizations and individuals interested in participating in these initiatives (Youth in Action Programmes, European Solidarity Corps, etc.).

All Spin projects have a special focus on the intercultural dimension, whether at the local or international level, as a way of promoting, not only among the direct participants, but also the public tolerance and a sense of belonging to the local community, Europe and to the world.  


A Unique Location

Spin’s location is also very special and important. 

It is in Bairro Padre Cruz – a public housing project, one of the biggest on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the biggest in Europe.

The inhabitants of the neighbourhood come from many ethnicities and have to face social and economic problems daily.

Tavares adds: “Even though it is in Lisbon, it is nearly never visited by foreigners (and the Portuguese do not go there often either). 

“By bringing groups of young people through our projects to Bairro Padre Cruz, we would like to change that and demystify this part of the city and slowly change its image among the general population.”

He underlines the important role of their hostel in this neighbourhood.

So, let’s dig into what’s so unique about Spin Hostel.      


Spin Hostel – A Delightful Meeting Place

The SPIN Hostel is at the Espaço Comunitário Antiga Escola Rio Tejo at Bairro Padre Cruz in Lisbon, a project supported by Carnide’s Parish Council.

Briefly, Spin Hostel it’s a meeting place for promotion of social inclusion, intercultural activities and educational mobility, involved in a quiet informal environment that stimulates creativity, encourages participation and promotes social transformation.

Melting Pot: Spin Association
Melting Pot: Spin Association

“The innovative feature of this project is to combine, in one proposal, the work for local development with national and international dimension, aiming for interaction and mutual enrichment, encouraging active participation of all in public and civic life. 

“It is an open area, flexible and adaptable to the needs of each group, as well as to specifics of your stay.”

Spin Hostel is open to host groups and support residential training courses for youth and adults, summer camps, work camps, artistic workshops, meetings and retreats, activities for people of all ages, cultural and social projects, responsible tourism groups and all activities that promote socialising.

The hostel has capacity for up to 30 people distributed in single, double and multiple bedrooms, with two large open-air spaces and a training room fully equipped. It also has a fully-equipped kitchen with a dining hall.


Experiencing the Glory of Lisbon

Live it Lisbon! is a social program aimed at people who want to live, work and create bonds with people from all over the world.

“The program comprises partaking in volunteer community work here in Lisbon and will allow you to contribute to helping communities in the city of Lisbon. 

“As well as the community work, the participants will benefit from Portuguese language classes, which will allow them to learn more about the culture of Portugal and this amazing city, or from cooking workshops, which will allow them to add recipes from other countries while having fun with the other participants.”

The idea behind Live it Lisbon! is to give the opportunity for participants to experience a culture other than their own through community work, language classes and cooking workshops, also while sharing the experience with the others.

“During the program participants can expect to learn about the social needs of our community, and also experience Lisbon in its beautiful summer glory, full of fantastic sights and beaches, ideal to experience these during the programme.”

Spin Association wants to leave their participants with a legacy that they will benefit from.

Since 2015, Live it Lisbon! held summer vacation camps in which young people of various nationalities went to Lisbon and developed activities for the benefit of the Bairro Padre Cruz, thus contributing to the constant improvement of this geographic area.

“We welcomed 178 young people and adults from dozens of countries around the globe who could, together with the community, develop the spirit of mutual help, tolerance, promoting intercultural dialogue, getting to know new cultures, developing the feeling of belonging to a community and global citizenship.”

Live it Lisbon! offers a remarkable opportunity for development.


Joining Spin Association

Stay tuned with Spin Association projects, through their website, Facebook, or Instagram.

There is also the possibility of becoming a Spin member

It means supporting the principles and values advocated by Spin Association, being part of a group of people motivated and dedicated to the promotion of international youth mobility programs, such as volunteering, exchanges, training courses and other activities.

You can also contact them directly via email or through the channels mentioned above by asking your doubts about how you can take part in their activities.

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