Volunteer DIY and construction in Portugal
Help to change lives by providing impoverished individuals and families with safe, sanitary and comfortable homes. Over 2 million people live in risk of poverty in Portugal, and almost 20% of those have homes which do not provide for their basic needs. Learn DIY and construction skills, and use them to make an important difference to people’s lives.
In Portugal, over 160,000 people don’t have a shower in their homes, and over 50,000 people don’t have running water and access to basic sanitation. This project was created to help people in need to have a home that offers comfort and basic amenities.
Volunteers join a local charity dedicated to improving living conditions for thousands of people who live below the poverty in Lisbon. Many of these people are unemployed or elderly, and financially unable to maintain their homes. Under the guidance of an expert builder and decorator, volunteers help to renovate and rejuvinate homes that have fallen into disrepair. So far, over 1,200 people have benefitted from this programme, and the plan is to help many more.
What will I be doing?
Working with a team of international and local volunteers, you will head to people’s homes that need some form of renovation. Problems can include structural issues, lack of basic amenities, poor access to light and ventilation or hygiene issues. The homes are assessed by the project staff before volunteers start work, and volunteers are always trained and guided by an expert builder and decorator.
You should expect to be working for 4 hours per day, either on a morning shift or an afternoon shift, depending on the needs of the project.
Tasks can include, but are not limited to:
- Preparing rooms for a new coat of paint
- Painting rooms, doors and window frames
- Levelling the walls or floors
- Helping to fit showers or kitchen units
- Tiling the bathroom
- Mixing concrete and laying bricks
- Helping to transport building materials
- Preparing the site for renovation work
The length of time that it takes to renovate a home depends on the complexity of the problems. Some homes can take several weeks to renovate, whereas others may take several months. You may join the project several weeks into the renovation or right at the beginning. Depending on the length of your stay, you may be able to see a project through from start to finish.
Accommodation and food
- Stay in a volunteer house in the leafy suburbs of Lisbon, 20 – 30 minutes from the centre
- The eco-house prides itself on being one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in Lisbon – single use plastics are kept to a minimum, food waste is composted or shared with those in need, furniture is built from recycled goods.
- Share a room with 3 – 9 other volunteers
- Three meals per day are provided, catering for all dietary requirements
- There is a large patio where volunteers can enjoy free yoga and exercise classes, or simply relax after a busy day
- There is a living room with books, TV and wifi
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Learn valuable DIY skills
- Make a genuine contribution to people’s lives
- Meet new people and have fun whilst working together
- Live in the vibrant city of Lisbon
- Explore the beaches, surf and ancient history of Portugal in your time off
Whyshould I do this?
The United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. This project works towards four of these goals – to eliminate poverty, to provide clean water and sanitation, to reduce inequalities and to produce sustainable communities. Over 2 million people in Portugal live in risk of poverty, and this project is doing all that it can to help those people and provide them with their basic rights.
Not only will you be helping people and changing their lives, you will also be learning some valuable skills. Volunteers are taught the basics of DIY and construction, and you will build upon those skills throughout your stay. DIY is a lifelong skill, and one that fewer and fewer people are learning.
This project is fantastic as part of a gap year, career break, holiday with a difference or summer holiday.
Fly into Lisbon (LIS) on your arrival Sunday. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to the accommodation.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated time with your Destination Manager to discuss the project, ask any questions that you might have and tell us more about yourself
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Pre-departure briefing
- Advice on visa requirements
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Airport collection and transfer to your accommodation
- Three meals per day
- 2 hour guided tour of Lisbon
- Shared volunteer accommodation in an eco-house
- Linen and towels
- All project equipment and training
- Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight); IPP financial protection if we do not book your flight
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A full passport valid for the duration of your stay
- Flights to Lisbon (Oyster can help you to organise these)
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Transport to your project (budget 5 euros per day)
- Independent travel costs and return to the airport
- Clothes that you don’t mind getting very mucky!
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £50 per week depending on lifestyle)