Children in Need

The Associação de Crianças Carenciadas do Algarve (ACCA) is committed to bringing smiles to the faces of young children. As a volunteer or sponsor, your support will put food in little mouths, shoes on small feet, and stability and security in young lives.

For nearly 20 years, ACCA has been helping children in the Algarve who are handicapped, orphaned, living in poverty or abandoned. Based in Almancil, ACCA is a registered charity run by committee members who freely give their time and experience. Its president is Wanda Crawford, who arrived here from the USA nearly 25 years ago. “My mother taught me the importance of doing good deeds,” said Wanda. “I’d enjoyed a successful career in the States, but I knew something was missing from my life and arriving here in Portugal gave me the opportunity to help local children. I love being hands-on with the kids and although they’re not my own, I feel in some way that they are. Visiting them in the various institutions we support and the difference they make feels very rewarding.”

The range of initiatives supported by ACCA is impressive. This is facilitated with the help of Akredita in Quarteira, an organisation that helps get young children and early teens off the streets and into a secure environment where therapists help with school work and nurture an interest in learning. ACCA paid for a kitchen, enabling the youngsters to be taught basic cooking skills so they learn about nutrition and how to look after themselves. ACCA has helped with the costs of building dormitories at Casa das Rapazes, a boys’ home in Faro; they’ve also provided funds for the children to have days out with trips to the cinema and local football matches. 

Fisio São Brás is a clinic in São Brás del Alportel which helps local children with speech problems and also those who need help with walking. ACCA gives the opportunity for up to 45 children a year to receive therapy in this centre.

Neci-Núcleo de Educação Da Criança Inadaptada (NECI) is a treatment centre for handicapped children and a day centre for handicapped people of all ages. ACCA covered the cost of a ‘snooze room’ at the centre to help agitated, disabled children to rest and relax.

Wanda told me that taking a role in ACCA has proved to be one of the best decisions of her life. “I can never get over what a labour of love this charity is for the entire ACCA team,” she said, “and I am honoured to be a part of the team.” Fundamental to ACCA’s work are their wonderful volunteers. Indeed, volunteering with ACCA doesn’t need to be an ongoing commitment, albeit that obviously helps. Perhaps you could help by manning an ACCA stall at a garden party, selling at Christmas markets, or delivering and collecting donations. You’ll make new friends and help ACCA raise funds to continue its great work. As Wanda said, “We need your time – just a little will do – and your enthusiasm!”

Sponsors also make a real difference and, in return, can be associated with ACCA events – sporting and social – where their branding takes pride of place on display and publicity materials. Opportunities include involvement in projects such as ACCA’s luxury greetings and Christmas card packs, producing ACCA-branded T-shirts, and donating gifts for fundraising auctions.

Donations are always welcome and of help. As Wanda rightly pointed out, “Many of us expats have an enviable lifestyle here and can enjoy the facilities and comfort the Algarve has to offer. But while we can take advantage of sporting opportunities and fine dining, the average salary for an office worker here is just €1,000 per month; others, such as gardeners, pool cleaners and restaurant workers, can receive almost half of that, and often only in the high season. Many families’ incomes do not cover basic needs, medication, or specialist support.”

Whether it’s by way of volunteering, sponsorship or donations, your help can make a real difference to the lives of so many young children. As Wanda said, “More than anything, we want to give underprivileged children the chance to be kids, enjoy life, and experience new opportunities to flourish and grow.”

Would a donation of €10 a month change your life? Almost certainly not, but it would make a world of difference to the work of ACCA and the children they help. 

More details of the initiatives ACCA has supported are available on their website at


You can donate by direct debit, cash or cheque to the ACCA bank account: Banco BIC (Vilamoura branch). As a recognised charity, donations can be discounted against IRS Portuguese Tax payments.

If you wish to donate through an international transfer:


IBAN: PT50 0079 0000 4342 6419 1012 2


Share this edition