(Although this happened in June, EuroNPUD wanted to make sure it got included in our blogs, as its a beautiful campaign story of inclusion and community and we apologise for it being a late entry - Erin)

CASO campaign | on the 23rd of June, a Saturday

Written by Rui Salvador

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In Porto, in a social housing neighborhood, in an abandoned building that is occupied by around 12 people and it is a place used by many people just to go there and smoke or inject outside of normalizing looks…

Unfortunately the week before on the 14th a person died there, alone, surrounded by garbage, needle still in the arm…

As it is one of the places where we’ve been developing a project trying to have 2 Peers from CASO at least two days peer week, since the beginning of March, it seemed the adequate and right place and moment to develop this action.

On the 26th of June, we participated in the campaigns of APDES and GAT (Vila Nova de Gaia and Lisbon)

To be closer to our community, in an ongoing process of deeper connection and local proximity and relationship… so this is a specific social housing neighborhood with an open scene of consumption, in the city of Porto, where CASO is developing a project since March.

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There were more than 30 people involved . Rui Salvador, Daniel and Rodrigo the artist were the heroes… Rui Salvador was organizing the day with the help of people who usually use the space. Daniel one of the new members of CASO, was a great help and someone who learned all the steps of this process of stamping in T’shirts

On Friday 22nd, we received the artist Rodrigo (Dedo Mau), we had a checklist of everything (materials needed, schedule for next day)…

Dedo Mau explained about how simple the process is and how creative it can be to produce you´re own sentence for you’re T.shirt and to leave equipment and knowledge to replicate this creative way of expression… he inquired a lot about the local context and seemed very interested and invested in giving the best of him…

I still had the privilege to see him cutting some letters and a drawing, also as an offer and an example of what can be done…

SATURDAY MORNING

As we didn’t received the T.shirts on time we went Saturday 23rd early morning to a local flea market and bought some T.shirts there.

When we arrived we met Luís Vieira Campos a film director that is involved with other CASO projects appeared and recorded some of the moments.

We prepared the equipment and the context...

And did it!

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We had some food and water, and also some beers, and a guy brought a bottle of a special wine… a real feeling of community or else a very good illusion…

Around 30 people appeared during the day. Some to support de action and some to use it’s drug and then have a talk, something to eat and drink, and debating informally on rights and policy, especially right to health and housing, and on top to learn a new way of expression—a handscraft tecnic…

And during the day there was curiosity and people moved and kind of bumped into one another or sometimes with small groups or even with one person…

We tried to be totally there and just facilitating a moment of encounter and sharing and of course here and there in different rooms of the abandoned space there were some flyers or some sticker that could and can facilitate some debate and sharing of information… so we had special information about hepatitis treatment, about rights and harm reduction…

Difficulty in engaging media and with organizing an encounter that is at one hand in an abandoned public building and at the other pretends to reach some local authorities and stakeholders, in fact on the 27th, CASO was heard in the Municipality because Safe Consumption Programs… and we talked mostly about what people just said in the weekend, and about an overdose that occurred 15 days before in the same building… 10 meters from us, 2 rooms away from us a guy had died… so it was an hard context to have official media also because of the exposure of the place, and particularly he people who live there…

As every year we underestimated the whole amount of time and energy and specific time allocated and we say that it is important to begin earlier and have more time…

What worked: the proximity and acceptance and inclusion we felt in the community

And what didnt: The idea that with all the network effort and with all our dedication we could have had a more impact not by exposure as it wasn’t, but by inclusion with a more adequate plan, and specifically a communication plan that could have invited with a proper time in advance the specific people that we people of the community would like to see there, seeing in th eyes of a decider or a professional even some outreach health professionals, the importance of being considered…

From now on you (politicians) know, we know, you’ve seen a little bit more of some reality… now do the left thing and this choose wisely

THANKS!

TO ALL INVOLVED AND THE ONES THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE.

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