Sonha, Faz e Acontece

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Sonha, Faz e Acontece: We dream and make education happen in Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa

Lisboa, PortugalSanto António, Sao Tome and Principe
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Principe is full of potential but has no efforts on education. Through a wide range of initiatives and volunteers, we create change makers in Principe and simultaneously we work with selected African students in Portugal so they can boost the island development by themselves once they're back.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if by educating change makers we can actually transform a region?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The lack of education opportunities Principe island's population is facing is blocking its sustainable development. Principe is an island where people is not hungry or malnourished, but education is not actually a priority. They are committed to change and usually get a scholarship to come studying in Portugal, but due to a wide range of difficulties in the host country they cannot turn the opportunity into an asset once they're back

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We work both in Principe and in Portugal with Principe's population. When in the field, we rebuild schools, organize workshops and teach children and youth during our 4 months' projects in the island. This project, undertaken by volunteers, aims at proving the tools for them to succeed and to become change makers and inspire others and has this year reached over 3000 people. At the same time, in Portugal, we support students from Portuguese speaking countries that arrive to Portugal dreaming of a better education. While creating tailored development programs to some of them, selected meritocratically, we believe we are making them get the most of their experience in Portugal. We invest in them so they can create value once they get back.


Prémio Voluntariado Jovem do Montepio 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Principe Project: The Summer camp we organize since 2012 is going to be undertaken, next year, by those change makers we are creating there, that no longer need us to organize this very special event in Principe. Portugal Project: Yoavi, one of the student we work with, has reached good marks at school (he was not used to) and he is getting mentoring from us to apply at his hometown. His feedback and results have been inspiring to us.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Principe Project: We have started with 5 volunteers in a month long mission which impacted 250 people. Last year, with 20 volunteers, we have reached 3000 people in Principe. We have got now the support of the Government and a recognition as a special social agent in the island. Our aim is to escalate our project to other geographies within Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa. Portugal Project: Started with only 5 students, we are working now with 15 not only from Principe but also from Cape Verde, Guine Bissau and Angola. At this stage we are investing them and teaching them on how to get a job, how to perform in a job interview and to create a CV.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our goal is to work in Portugal with 100 students in 5 years time to make sure our impact is maximised. For that goal, we intend to work in the project with full time employees, who can follow their development the closest way possible and extend our list of partners within companies and civil society. In Principe, we intend to keep on doing our activities in there while increasingly involve Principe population and progressively empower them to organise it by themselves. At the same time, we are approaching new countries and trying to apply the same model in other places in need.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We want to involve companies and business operating in these countries and enhance its social corporate responsibility. This is one of our ways to finance the project, Besides this, while increasing our list of partners, we have our own fundraising activities, which includes merchandising, events, crowdfunding initiatives and contests. As the impact is getting measured, we hope we will get mentors who are keen on investing in these students.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Principe Project: No other NGO or social enterprise is working at the moment in Principe island. Some have been in the field before but none worked with the aim of making them capable by themselves: we are teaching them so they can do it! Portugal Project: There are some institutions working with Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa's students. However, not on the same way. Our idea is innovative and impactful because it is tailored: we believe in the power of one smile instead of creating 100 'half smiles'. We want to invest in those who will very likely create change in their places.

Founding Story

2 friends went in a summer holidays in a volunteering mission to Principe island. In love with its people and aware of their potential and capabilities, they came back to Portugal after a month committed to go back and create value in there. A year later, again during their University holidays, they took 5 other colleagues in that adventure and spent another month in Principe. Once they were back for the second time to Portugal, they decided those trips won't be single trips anymore and that an NGO will be founded so that a sustained and regular work is done with the population. They didn't just want to dream, They dreamt of making it happen. That is when Sonha, Faz e Acontece is born.


Board Members (Volunteers) - Rita Calvão, Teresa Teixeira, Joana Pimenta, Filipa Galrão, Manuel Carvalho Fundraising Department (Volunteers) - Daniela Oliveira, Gonçalo Gomes, André Vidigal, Luísa Figueiredo Marketing Department (Volunteers) - Filipa Galrão, Rita Nunes da Silva, Tiago Guerreiro Coaching and Recruitment Department (Volunteers) - Sofia Marques, Tiago Figueiredo, Bernardo Paixão Legal and Financial Department (Volunteers) - João Teixeira, Margarida Pina Project Portugal - Raquel Póvoas (coordinator) Project Principe - Nádia Dinis (Coordinator) We intend to grow the project by creating some full time jobs (in a short term) and increasing the number of volunteers in Principe Project and Portugal Project. At the same time, and as the project grows, new project will be created in different regions. The board structure however will maintain similar.