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  • Inclusion and Social Awareness

Penpals of Affection

At times when we can’t be near each other we created a way to unite generations and break the barrier that isolation brings upon

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 7 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

What if we could add together the joy and contagious energy of children with the wisdom and cozy stories of the elderly?

That was exactly what the “Agora Escreve-me!” (Now, Write to Me!) project brought to the ten students of Centro Escolar de Santiago and to the ten users of Lar da Santa Casa da Misericórdia who, between the 6th October to the 14th December, exchanged letters with each other.

In this process, Agora Aveiro played the role of a postman, assuring the letters exchange happened between each one of the elderly and the fourth graders. In this way, we made sure that each pair communicated weekly, in a fun and affectionate way, and that no letter would have been left unanswered.

After all this, there was going to be a whole afternoon of conviviality, in a way that the participants of this exchange would have met in flesh. But, unfortunately, and due to the pandemic situation we are currently in, this generational meeting had to happen online. Nevertheless, words which by then had been written now had the chance to be spoken.

This whole project has shown itself as quite positive to the children, but even more to the elderly. It achieved an unexpected relevance due to the restrictions and isolation, the product of the pandemic. Helena Ribeiro said:

I really liked it! I would do it again and I’d like to be able to continue exchanging letters with Gabriel; it’s a pity that it can’t go any longer so we could talk about more things, getting to know each other better and exchange impressions; thanks to Gabriel I learned about the Morgado do Bussaco pastry and tasted it, among a ton of other things...I would have liked to talk for longer…

Amália also enjoyed the initiative:

I liked it! I am very glad that Carolina has enjoyed my drawings. I hope that she someday would come by to visit me. With this project, I gained a friend. It’s easy to perceive that Carolina is a gorgeous and sweet little girl and knows how to write beautiful letters.

“Agora Escreve-me” Initiative is part of the “Encontro de Gerações” project. It was made in partnership with Centro Escolar de Santiago and Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Aveiro and had the support of Município de Aveiro and Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude I.P..

Vânia Martins