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  • Inclusion and Social Awareness

The Free Hugs Squad strikes again

On May 1st, the Free Hugs Squad went to the streets of the city of Aveiro to distribute free hugs.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 15 seconds

This activity, part of the "Random Acts of Kindness" project, aims to promote social integration and community spirit, demonstrating how small gestures can have a big impact on improving the wellbeing of those around us.

Our ‘Free Hugs’ signs are recognized by many, but they also show some signs of heavy use throughout the years. As such, we spent a few days creating new signs with drawings relating to hugs and messages in several languages.

At 2:30 p.m., a city invasion began, lasting around 2 hours. It began at Cais da Fonte Nova, passed through the Fórum, the entire extension of Rossio, ending at Agora Aveiro's headquarters. We also intercepted the usual labour's day parade, spreading hugs and smiles among the participants.

Amongst curious tourists, wanting to register the moment with their own cameras, children, young people, adults and the elderly, inhabitants of the city, there were many people taking part in this activity.

"It's fascinating to see those people who want a hug but are ashamed to give one or create some distance because we're a bunch of kids with red t-shirts on a protest day. It's beautiful to see people running across the street with open arms to give us that hug, and just because." This was the statement of Diogo Cardoso, one of the young people who participated in the initiative.

Addressing the difficulties she felt during the activity and highlighting its importance, Jéni Soares said:

"... more and more people have difficulty communicating, affection and physical contact is nil or difficult to establish, even for me, and for many who participated in this initiative. We jumped onto the street with posters saying ‘free hugs’ and went to hug people, some refused, others came running toward us, many loved it and were happy and fulfilled with the hug! [...] We need things that inspire us in our lives, and this is one of them!"

Beatriz Santos, another member of the team who helped spread happiness in the city of Aveiro, shared:

"Hugging doesn't need to have a reason, it doesn't need ulterior motives. To embrace is to receive affection, to receive love from someone, to get a heart full and a huge smile on the face. Giving hugs is free, it doesn't cost energy, quite the opposite ... Embracing GIVES energy and brings happiness."

There was no shortage of photographic coverage, which is available on the association's Facebook page, on the album ‘Free Hugs!’.

This initiative was made possible thanks to IPDJ - Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, I.P..

Agora Aveiro