“Women entrepreneurs and solidarity”

TEDxPorto Salon took place last Saturday and blogger and fashion advisor Manuela de Oliveira tells us how it went

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The influencer and socialite from earlier this century, Biba Pitta, once said in an interview that “charity starts next door”. My respect for her began that day, as did my interest in solidarity.

On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending TEDx Porto. The event took place in a female setting and it was gratifying to hear those six women talking about their entrepreneurship and solidarity projects.

Some of the talks were truly moving.

The first woman, Silvia Freitas, told us about her project Pedalar sem idade, which aims to fight against the isolation of the aging population. It was very moving to hear the words of the founder of the project: “Worse than the loneliness of those who don’t have children is the loneliness of those who do”. Silvia combats the loneliness of the elderly by taking them for a ride on an adapted bicycle through the streets of Porto.

This was followed by Dulceneya Almeida, co-founder of New Faces New Voices, an association that supports Guinean women who need financial support for their entrepreneurial projects.

The last speaker of the first part of this TEDx Porto was Teresa Ponte, president of Porto Solidário. I confess that I got chills with the stories of hidden poverty and with the needs that all the association’s team faces on a daily basis, in a reality that we live with and often cannot see.

But the second part was very moving. Right at the first presentation, it was impossible to hold back the tears. Mariana Abranches Pinto shared the experience she has lived through, together with her daughter Nini. “Everything changes in a second”, said the driving force behind the Compassio Association, who calmly shared her experience with the audience: “Accept what I am given to live (…) Death is only a second”. Mariana moved me with her courage, dedication and her words. She moved me with her accounts of her young daughter’s attitude towards the strangeness and vicissitudes of life

TEDx continued with Carmo Teixeira Bastos, president of Young Parkies, Portuguese Association for Precocious Parkinson. The story of a young woman facing a degenerative disease and how a relatively common reality goes unnoticed by us was striking. “Is there shame in sharing the diagnosis?”, she asks. It was very interesting to hear her experiences and how cruel society dares to judge those it doesn’t know.

The last speaker had wonderful hair and beautiful skin tone! Laila Portela shared with us the pains of being a woman and black. The creator of Global Women in Tourism spoke to us about how tourism can be a tool in social, cultural and economic development. I was already aware of the difficulties Leila explained. This summer, on holiday, I commented to my family how shocking it was that there were only black and foreign people serving in the breakfast room of the hotel where I stayed, while at the reception there were kids with little savoir faire, just because they are “barbies” or white Portuguese.

The whole organization and volunteers of TEDx Porto are to be congratulated. It was undoubtedly a very interesting and captivating event

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