Friday, December 13, 2013

A day with the President

Hi readers! Another week has gone by and we have exciting news.

Arrebita!Porto was invited to be part of a social entrepreneurship symposium promoted by the President of Portugal, Prof. Aníbal Cavaco Silva. This was a singular opportunity to expose our project to a wider and more social-conscious audience, and we were determined to set up a small exhibition that would be truly representative of Arrebita.

As such, we started by designing a three-sided panel in which we could explain our operating principles, identify the partners that make the project possible and show the current state of the construction works in the building.

We also decided to take advantage of Mr. João Pacheco’s carpentry expertise in order to build a 1:10 model of our new proposal for the A!Box. On the one hand, the model would show one of the key elements for the refurbishing project and, we hope, the future financial sustainability of Arrebita; on the other hand, it also provided the perfect ‘excuse’ to exemplify how Arrebita can help promote members of the local community by showcasing their skills.   

Philippe and Mr. João Pacheco worked for six days straight in his small workshop under D. Luis Bridge, making sure that the model would have every detail represented.
Philippe and João Pacheco working on the model

Philippe and João Pacheco discussing some options

After a re-scheduling due to Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa on Wednesday, the eagerly-awaited symposium with the President finally arrived yesterday. While Philippe and Mr. João Pacheco applied the final touches to the A!Box model, Margarida and Leo went in early to the event venue to set up the Arrebita exhibition. Some of the materials/samples donated by partners to Arrebita were displayed alongside the three-sided panel; the A!Box model completed the showcase.

Our small stand
Samples and catalogs from some of our partners
The A!Box model was a showstopper
The model included all the structural elements and appliances

In the middle of the afternoon, the President of Portugal made a short visit to our stand accompanied by the newly elected mayor of Porto, Dr. Rui Moreira. Prof. Cavaco Silva commended José Paixão for his presentation of the project during a more restricted event in the morning and displayed some curiosity about the A!Box. José addressed a formal invitation to the President of Portugal to attend the inauguration of our pilot project one year from now. The mayor of Porto then made a point of declaring his personal interest in the project, since it is actively trying to reenergise the city centre of Porto.

José Paixão talking to the President and the Mayor

All in all, the symposium was a great experience for the team and, above all, a priceless opportunity for Arrebita to reach more people. Indeed, we got major media coverage during this week, from digital newspapers to radio stations and television channels.

Until Team 7 final goodbye next week, Arrebita!

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