• Inclusion and Social Awareness
  • Urban Intervention

Free Hugs

We marked the Municipal Day of the Immigrant with “Free Hugs”.

© João Simões

Free Hugs is the most accurate representation of what "random acts of kindness" are, a social movement that involves people who, in public, offer hugs to strangers. These actions promote social integration and community spirit, motivate the community to help others and bring colour and joy to the daily life of people.

Based on this, on September 28th, we marked the Municipal Day of the Immigrant with a “Free Hugs” action at the event that took place in celebration of this date, at the Fonte Nova Pier. The 'Festival of Interculturality' aimed to promote and enrich the municipality through artistic, cultural and gastronomic events, promoting respect and unity among people of different nationalities, informing and raising the awareness of the local community regarding interculturality. The invitation came from the Vera Cruz Parish Social Center and was promptly accepted by our “Free Hugs Squad” because, the truth is, we love to hug and spread smiles around Aveiro!

After the social event, we walked the streets of Aveiro to our headquarters with the same energy, because this action is too cherished to stick to an event only. We had people who were shy or even refused a hug, but to make up for it, we had others running up to us, picking us up off the floor and beaming. We partied with the moliceiros and embraced Aveirense people of various nationalities, as well as our canine friends.

As a great conclusion to this day, we are happy to say that we changed everyone's day! The best place in the world is in a hug, and it was with this spirit that we ended the event, returning with the heart full of love, happiness and comfort, but giving twice as much to the people with whom we crossed paths. Stay alert, because our “Free hugs squad” can appear anywhere to comfort the Aveirense community!

You can see the full album on Facebook.

Free Hugs is a project made possible thanks to the support of Instituto Português da Juventude, I.P. and the Aveiro City Hall.

Beatriz Meneses

29-09-2019