Yolanda's work

freegan, squatter & grassroot projects

Yo finished two Master’s degrees in Holland: a Master of fine arts & education and a Master degree in political science/gender studies. During her studies she decided to research alternative communities and how people are collectively trying to practice their ideals in daily life. This brought her on a journey, and now she is herself practicing her ideals most days of the year in a collective in Porto. this means she is busy with many different projects, in addition to the regular tasks of renovating the spaces she occupies.

During the summer school holidays, Yo goes back to Holland and works in the 'after-school-care' of a Dutch organisation. There she organises and participates in activities with children during the daytime.
For the rest of the year, Yo is actively involved in voluntary based projects and collectives in Porto, many of which she started, or co-started
Yo is a part of a collective that runs Casa Viva, a self managed social centre. Casa Viva is an open space for organising all kinds of activities, such as debates, concerts, cinema, workshops, counter cultural happenings, and more. It is also a space for theatre and band rehearsals (including the Rhythms of Resistance Samba action band that Yo is in), and it broadcasts weekly its own radio programme: Radio casa viva. The activities held are not meant for profit or economic gains, any money that comes in goes into paying electricity, water and necessities.
Yo also started a bread baking collective with a friend (see recipe in Q&A section). Using sourdough and organic ingredients, and experimenting with wood ovens, a group of people meet weekly to make traditional bread. At the end of the day, everyone has a bread, and some of it is sold at a price that makes it possible to make bread again the following week, in that way sustaining the project.
Another project is an urban community garden at Quinta Musas da fontinha. There are many spaces in Porto left abandoned and collecting garbage.

And Yo, with a group of other people cleaned up a plot of land in the city and started gardening.


There are also educational activities happening, with the free university involved giving practical courses, and people have a plot of land to grow food on in the city.

“I think it is important to know that we can actually make food almost next to our own homes, especially here in Porto where there are so many abandoned terrains that are just used for piling up garbage”
Finally there is the school project ES.COL.A. It is a self-managed neighbourhood centre and one of the first political and social squats in Porto. The school property had been abandoned for many years and was beginning to crumble. A group of people participated in cleaning up the place and now use it for neighbourhood activities. The great thing about this project is that many people from the neighbourhood have started using it for all kinds of activities, such as organising meetings, workshops, music lessons and arts creation. It has become the heart of the neighbourhood with weekly dinners organised and an area for the children to play. There was an agreement made at some point with the municipality to allow the activities to go on, but there are still some struggles and at the time of writing, the municipality has plans to close down the building. More on the school project.
Currently, there are threats that the school project will be shut down by the end of March. If ou want to help ask the municipality to allow the activities to remain, you can sign a petition here



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