Arrouquelas is a small village in the centre of Portugal, in the district of Rio Maior which is known by its sports achievements. Our county is well known for its wines and gastronomic specialties, mainly made of pork meat. There are many people who work in agriculture and whose jobs are very precarious. Agriculture and breeding cattle are very important activities in the economy of our region, Ribatejo. Voluntarism, based on solidarity, friendship, compassion, citizenship has been fighting back the tendency of our societies which promote material values and breed selfish people whose main worries are to buy the next newly arrived good in the market. Therefore, associations like ours are a very important factor in the social development, as in some cases the only development opportunity.
We're an association whose typical name is “H2O”, was founded in 1996 and nowadays has 100 members. We carry out several kinds of activities, which mainly promote environmental awareness. Our work has been acknowledged both by regional and national entities. Voluntarisme and concentration characterise our work, which aims at educating people and thus becomes considerably relevant in the communities development. Gradually, we have managed to orientate the people in a region that despite being close to Lisbon has serious social and financial needs, like a rural area that we are.
Generally speaking, our association aims to show that the habitants of the rural areas can and should have the same opportunities that those in the urban areas have. Therefore we try to offer them activities that they can only carry out in the countryside, in which we try to match the countryside’s' best assets — the environment and nature— with the conditions they find in the cities. We carry out Non-formal Education, we organise debates on various themes, all aiming the protection of the environment; we promote awareness campaigns in which we conceive posters and fliers.
We are involved in National and International projects connected with European Citizenship, organise exchanges, seminars and training courses as sending and hosting organization. Our association has got its own facilities, which was built by our members. Despite some difficulties, we try to keep track of the new technologies, through our cyber space, which allows access to the Internet.