By Peter Tase
The Luso-Illyrian Foundation for Human Development (LIDH Foundation) aims to find solutions for a full living in culturally diverse environments through the development of pedagogical and innovative activities.
In the last years, after many decades of abandonment, LIDH Foundation had transformed the degraded and vandalized Marquis Palace in Mafra, Portugal into a fully restored and functional building that currently hosts the Values University, a multi-faceted place for research, training and contemplation, offering a well-being space and tools of inquiry that are built upon universal values and learning experiences to expand Universal Wisdom.
The Values University (www.universidadevalores.org) demonstrates, using scientific method, leading-edge technologies for recreational and educational experience and contemplative practices, that the individual is a manifestation of the universe, containing within itself the whole.
When the war in Ukraine started, late February 2022, the LIDH Foundation informed the Embassy of Ukraine in Lisbon about the immediate and free availability of accommodation facilities of the Values University for refugees that were seeking shelter in Portugal. Taking into account the high flow of Ukrainian refugees, the Values University, in line with its priorities and mission, decided to suspend the previous activities making all the spaces available for exclusive use for Ukrainian refugees, giving priority to those with children, with special needs and traumatized by the bombings. The new Humanitarian Support Operations was quickly created and implemented in partnership with the Ukrainian Refugees UAPT, an NGO that, in close cooperation with the Central Government bodies, leads the assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Portugal.
So far, the Values Universities has welcomed hundreds of refugees, families with children of different ages, including a special group of children and adolescents, children of both military parents serving in the conflict in Ukraine. All the support was possible with the aid received from various local and regional institutions and people that offered food, clothes, hygiene products, wheelchairs, among others, which contributed to complement the comfort of the Values University facilities, ensuring all the conditions these families need.
Thanks to the tireless work of the Ukranian Refugies UAPT organization, its volunteers and sponsors, hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who arrived at the Values University have already been settled in new homes, are fully legal with temporary refugee protection status and in the process of being integrated into the labor market in different areas of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.