"When giving a hand means providing a second chance..."

The Dar a Mão Story
Reading Time: 5 minutes
SDGs: 4,5,8,16

To break the law, atone for it and then find your way back to life – this is not an easy path. A path that is unimaginable for most of us, but not for the volunteers of the Dar a Mão association. The Portuguese NGO has guided imprisoned women through this journey for over three decades.
Now, the tradition-rich organisation has decided to take the next step: Going digital and reaching a broader target group.
Check out Dar a Mão on Instagram, Facebook and their Website.

The Vision

Dar a Mão intends to reintegrate people who seize an opportunity to change their lives. Moreover, the organization aims to contribute towards social order and peace whilst involving the surrounding communities.

The NGO is a Christian-oriented organization composed of around 30 volunteers and started working at the Prisão de Tires in the Lisbon Area in 1985.
With the mission of reducing the recidivism of former prisoners and promoting the social inclusion of inmates Dar a Mão has enabled personal transformation for over 30 years.

The Work

The Volunteers working at Dar a Mão mainly support imprisoned women. One volunteer devotes herself or himself to each prisoner who reaches out and remains in contact during captivity. The volunteers help to keep the inmates in contact with their families and  encourage them to explore new projects in life.
For example, they motivate them to take lessons offered at prison or to enroll in Dar a Mão’s programs such as building emotional and social skills, creative writing, meditation in motion and handcraft.

Moreover, Dar a Mão is providing inmates with care packages if needed. These packages include essential items such as hygienic products but also non-essentials, like stamps to send letters to their families.
Apart from ongoing support, the organisation invests time and resources in special events to make inmates feel socially included. As an example, the team celebrates Christmas and Easter together with the inmates.

Once a prisoner is released, she still has a contact person and in the best case, the two of them have already worked out a plan for what to do after the captivity.

The Team

Working with captives requires knowing how to listen, emotional stability, empathy and courage. The Team behind Dar a Mão has dedicated a good part of their lifetime to improving the lives of others. Most of the volunteers have many years of experience.

The board of Dar a Mão is composed of Isabel, Sofia and Rita, with Rita being the president of the organisation. Although the team consists mainly of people who grew up in the non-digital world, the board has recognised the opportunities offered by digital means, like online marketing or digital calendars.

The evolvia Project

Did you know that around 10% of Portuguese inmates are in prison for traffic offences, the majority of them for driving without a driving licence? And did you know that with the support of Dar a Mão prisoners were allowed to attend the driving school and take the appropriate exams during prison time? The NGO is accomplishing life changing milestones – but so far not communicating them.
Therefore the organisation approached evolvia with the task to develop a strategy for the NGO`s next steps into the digital world.

Being aware that change has to come from inside of the organisation, the evolvia team, first of all, hired two business school students as interns for Dar a Mão. As a next step, the team developed a holistic strategy that allows Dar a Mão to reach two main goals in the long run: Raising more money and increasing the general public awareness for their social cause.

The steps to get there included a complete redesign of the organisations website, a digital marketing strategy, professional partnerships with supportive companies as well as several workshops, for example on how to use google for non-profit organisations.


“A young bright, brilliant and well-organized team, dedicated to real social impact. We were very lucky to meet Tobias at the Social Ideation Bootcamp promoted by his university. He delivered impressive work, so we asked his company to start a project with us. The team ended up hiring two outstanding interns and implementing an amazing communication plan to create awareness of Dar a Mão's work and raise more donations. By supporting us, evolvia is increasing the reintegration options for these abandoned and forgotten people and reinforcing their family ties – and all we can say is: Thank you!"

Rita Chaves, President of the board

"Evolvia designed our internship program and helped us hire the first interns. Moreover, they created our future marketing strategy. For us, this collaboration was a real game changer.”
Sofia Simões, Board of Directors

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