A large container packed with relief supplies donated by residents from the Western Algarve cities of Aljezur, Lagos, Monchique, Odemira and Mexilhoeira Grande, through the ‘Algarve for Life’ movement,

was on Wednesday morning collected from the Lagos fire station to be shipped to refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.


Filled with essential items like warm winter clothes, shoes and blankets, and other equipment such as crutches, toys and even a bicycle, the container was collected from the Lagos fire-fighters’ headquarters for its maritime journey to Lesbos.

From the Portuguese port of Setúbal the container will be ferried to Piraeus in Greece before travelling on to the port city of Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, where it will be received by refugee support organisations RefuGEN and PIKPA/All Together Village.

Funds were raised to cover the cost of shipping from Portugal to Greece, which is being handled by the Tiba Group in Lisbon, while Greek shipping company ARKAS Hellas SA, has generously offered to provide transport of the container from Piraeus to its final destination.

The donation-gathering campaign stemmed from an initiative launched last September by local German resident and former diplomat Raban von Mentzingen, who formed an association with other members of the German community in the Western Algarve with a view to providing homes to refugee families in Aljezur, naming the movement ‘Algarve for Life’.
As the idea of accommodating refugees struggled to reach fruition it transformed into a donation-gathering drive.

Local schools – namely the International School in Aljezur and the Gil Eanes Secondary School in Lagos – and families national and international became the driving force behind the campaign and, with the “unconditional support” of the Lagos Voluntary Fire-fighters, the Lagos Red Cross and the São Gonçalo parish, volunteers worked tirelessly throughout January to check and box the masses of donated items.
A statement from the ‘Algarve for Life’ campaign explained “we benefited from the energetic participation of about forty volunteers, friends, co-workers, students of our schools, members of alternative communities, mothers and their children, volunteers from the German, English and French communities. It was a pleasure to meet and work with so many different people, a wealth of diversity. To all who contributed and made it possible to achieve the objective of the ‘Algarve for Life campaign’ we express our profound gratitude. We are all to be congratulated!”

On Wednesday morning a large container arrived at the Lagos fire station for the mountains of boxes and packages to be loaded in to.

Speaking to The Portugal News, Raban von Mentzingen said he was “very happy” to see his idea come to life, and said he has “many more projects, many ideas” for helping refugees in the future.