Lay Association for Development
|Purpose||Young lay volunteers on mission|
|Headquarters||Estrada da Torre, n.º 26, 1750-296, Lisbon, Portugal|
Lay Association for Development (Leigos para o Desenvolvimento – LD) is an Non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists people in their integral development. It was founded in 1986 under the auspices of the Society of Jesus(Jesuits) in Lisbon, Portugal, and grew from assisting people in former Portuguese colonies to a wider mission abroad and in Portugal.
In 1984, Fr. António Vaz Pinto of the Society of Jesus took his experience at the Jesuit University Center Manuel da Nóbrega (CUMN) at the University of Coimbra to Lisbon and founded Padre António Vieira University Center (CUPAV). With students from CUMN, he founded the Lay Association for Development (LD) in 1986. They chose as their first mission fields São Tomé and Príncipe.
Before long, students from throughout Portugal were joining the association. The Jesuit Refugee Service opened opportunities for LD volunteers in Malawi between 1991 and 1994, serving refugees from the Mozambican Civil War. In 1992, a mission was begun in Angola, and in 2000, LD volunteers accepted a request of the Jesuits in Dili, East Timor, to open a mission there. In Dili, the projects included educational and recreational activities for youth and a micro-credit project. By 2010, LD was able to leave the Dili project in local hands, and it pays a local person to coordinate St. Ignatius preschool. In 2011, a Solidarity Concert was presented by LD to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
In its thirty-first year, LD had 14 volunteers in Africa, ages 21 to 34, working in education, training and employment, and community development. Its volunteers are in Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome, Principe, and Portugal. It has a long list of donors and partners in its work. An example is the Australian Embassy in Portugal which supplied funds through LD to equip a 60-child nursery in Vila Malanza.
Lay Association for Development is recognized as a Portuguese Development NGO by the Portuguese Foreign Affairs Ministry. It conducts a 9-month National Training Program for candidates annually, and also participates in national forums on voluntary work. It shares its experiences with the Portuguese NGO Platform and works with the Jesuit European NGO Xavier Network Voluntary Group to develop programs for instructing trainers.
Training takes place at bi-weekly meetings from November to July in Algarve, Lisbon, Coimbra, and Porto. After each of four stages in the training, all trainees come together in one place. Study topics include development, cooperation, volunteerism, mission, faith, spirituality or interculturality, and methodology in handling projects. Jesuit priests are available to counsel participants, and to administer a three-day retreat midyear, and a seven-day retreat before and after each year's experience. Former volunteers may assist in the training. One of LD's efforts led to the children's book The Carnival of Kissonde, written by an Angolan author who was helped by LD. This developed into the friendship described in the book.
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