charity in portugalIn Obidos, Portugal, an annual event brings the community together through the celebration of history, good times and charity.

Over the course of the past week, I have had the pleasure of exploring the beautiful country of Portugal. From the vast beaches to the incredible countryside to the upbeat city of Lisbon, there is so much to do and experience. As my family and I ventured through the country, we came across one particular event that seemed to be getting a lot of attention.

In the old countryside town of Obidos stands a beautiful medieval castle that has been restored and maintained over the years. As you enter the castle, as in many medieval-themed towns and cities throughout Europe, there are plenty of people dressed up for the occasion as well as vendors and artisans selling their handmade foods and goods.

Although this may seem like many other festivals and markets around the world, this one was unique because of the charitable aspect that tied into it. As you enter the market, you pay a small fee depending on the experience you wish to have, which can include things like walking around the castle, seeing parades, watching reenactments of battles and having an authentic medieval meal. Most things are very reasonably priced and the people are very friendly; many of them get into the spirit and dress up as well!

When my family and I were dining, we spoke to some of the vendors and realized that the majority of the people working at the festival were volunteers. Each food stand, for example, had a particular charity in Portugal that they were raising money for, and all the proceeds would go towards that charity of their choosing. Although not all of the vendors were volunteers, many of them were.

Thus, the fun and entertaining experience was not only for good times and a lesson in the country’s history, but was also for helping out a good cause! It was wonderful to see how people came together and used an event such as this to do some good for the community. The festival ends on August 2; however, it is an annual event that lasts for a few weeks, from July through early August.

To learn more about this event and the different charities that it benefits, visit their website.

Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: Obidos Mercado Medieval
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Oxfam’s newest project, focusing on the world leader’s goals to tackle extreme poverty and to spread the world with awareness, unites people across the U.K. by encouraging them to create a lip sync video, which will call for the goals to be met.

The “Big Lip Sync” was launched at the Glastonbury Festival, a music festival in Somerset, England, and it is asking festivalgoers to take part in action to support the goals to eradicate extreme poverty.

During the summer, Oxfam will be inviting people and festivalgoers to paint their lips with the color green, a metaphor that refers to the idea that everyone has poverty issues and global goals in their mouth and on their mind. Participants can then share their picture with the hash tag #biglipsync on their social media websites and profiles or upload a lip singing video to their social media.

These pictures and videos will be used as a way to prove that poverty is on everyone’s lips and that it is an important issue to the larger community. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users can share their green-painted-lip pictures to raise awareness and spread the word about the campaign in social media. Festivalgoers take many of these pictures while attending music festivals.

In the U.K., Oxfam is also spreading the word about “The Big Lip Sync” by being present in music festivals with a booth that promotes the cause. In these stands, Oxfam counts the banners, picture frames and slogans that festivalgoers use to show their support for the cause.

Famous U.K. journalists, fashion stylists, presenters and producers have also joined the movement. Gemma Cairney, Cherry Healey and DJ Goldierocks are some of the stars that participated in the promotional video for “The Big Lip Sync” project. The video shows them, with green lips, dancing and lip singing to a song in order to promote that they “stand against poverty” and to invite people to be part of “The Big Lip Sync.”

As an extra, Oxfam is offering the chance for a “The Big Lip Sync” participant to win tow tickets to go check out Bestival, a four-day music festival held in Isle of Wight, England. U.K. residents can enter this contest by texting the word LIPS to 700066.

Oxfam has shown a way to create awareness in a colorful, social and fun way. “The Big Lip Sync” represents a way for people and festivalgoers to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of meeting global goals aimed at ending extreme poverty.

– Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Oxfam, Glastonbury Festival, YouTube
Photo: Oxfam

Music is a powerful medium that spreads messages cross borders, cultures, and language barriers. Music is something people absolutely love and over which they get passionate. In addition to music’s utility of the auditory sense, live music provides for engagement of all the senses. What better environment to raise consciousness about an important cause, than when the audience is voluntarily, and ultimately thoroughly, engaged in the message being sent to them?

The cause to which I am referring is Global Poverty Project, an international education and advocacy humanitarian organization working to end global poverty. The Global Poverty Project is an Australian-based organization led by Hugh Evans–a man who has become a significant voice for the movement.

Global Citizen is an awareness raising online platform, which allows users to earn points by sharing information. In turn, users earn points, and can use their points to bid on live entertainment events, such as Global Citizen Festival.

The Global Citizen Festival takes place in Central Park in New York City. The 2nd Global Citizen Festival took place on September 28, 2013. The Global Citizens Tickets initiative motivated most of the concertgoers to earn their tickets by raising awareness about global poverty.

The concert is presented by Cotton on Foundation, an organization which has notably built the best performing schools in Uganda and has contributed significantly to educational needs in Africa.

According to the Global Citizen Festival website, more progress has been made over the past thirteen years than ever before. Amazingly, the end of poverty is within reach. The Global Poverty Project is based on four main goals: education, health, women’s equality, and global partnerships. The project understands change can only occur if world leaders are notified and asked to support these goals.

According to the site, 57 million children are denied basic schooling services. The goal is to provide schooling by 2015. In the health sector, the main goal is to have 1 million quality community health workers by 2015. The project’s women equality goal is to recognize women’s and girls’ equality as a priority and take measures to support that equality. Goals involving global partnership emphasize gathering support from public and private organizations in a commitment to end global poverty by 2030.

The 2nd annual Global Citizen Festival was a success. Well-known artists John Mayer, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, and Stevie Wonder headlined the five-and-a-half hour concert. Notably, this year, the project campaigned for policy changes in the core areas of education, women’s equality, and reproductive health.

– Laura Reinacher

Sources: Global Citizen, New York Times, Forbes
Photo: NY Daily News