Association for the provision of residential care,
support and education to children and young adults in Portugal

Past experiences / testimonials


Our son Luis joined us when he was almost 5 years old. He was born in Brazil and grew up there, until he was adopted. When he reached puberty, his challenging behaviour changed to serious problems: he rebelled  against rules increasingly often, and against the adults (parents,   teachers,...) who were attempting to enforce these rules, started to lie, to steal and to smoke dope, and became aggressive increasingly often. As the   situation caused him distress, too, and he was afraid of hurting someone seriously one day during one of these uncontrolled outbreaks of violence, he stayed in a psychiatric clinic for children and young adults for three months for a therapy. During his stay there, it became clear that his problems were connected to his situation as an adopted child and the lack of knowledge about his origins and the reasons for his adoption. After he got into a violent fight with one of his schoolmates who had taunted him about his adoption situation, the youth psychiatrist suggested that Luis needed some time-out and should join an experiential education programme abroad for a while. That is how he came to Progresso in early 2012. (…) When we were finally allowed to visit Luis for the first time after about three months, we were extremely positively surprised: Luis was cheerful and in a relaxed mood   when we met. (…) He had also learnt to accept "no", and to adhere to rules. He had also been taught how to keep everything in order in his everyday life, and how to live within the framework of clear structures. Especially remarkable, however, is what Progresso has recently done for Luis:  due to an incredible coincidence, Luis found his birth mother in Brazil in the spring of last year. With the help of Progresso, he got in contact with her (…). And ultimately, Progresso was also prepared to make it possible for Luis to visit his birth family in Brazil. He spent a week there, in the company of two of Progresso's residential care workers. First of all, they had prepared Luis for the meeting over several months. For Luis and his further life, this is surely of huge importance. We are incredibly grateful to Progresso, especially to Dorit, Jan and Tanja, that they made this possible for Luis.



Thank you for the excellent cooperation. Your well-written and comprehensive reports ensure that I feel fully involved and make the support process transparent. Your methods for dealing with critical situations prove that you and your team work professionally and don't give up easily, even in the most challenging situations.

Ms Beger (Schwelm youth welfare office)


(…). Things already got completely out of control in 2011. (…) One night in October 2012, the situation with Tim escalated to the point where I had to call the police. Totally at my wits' end, I called Jan (Tell-Us) and asked for help. Jan decided that Tim had to be brought to Portugal straight away. (…) Now, three months later, my son Tim has made incredibly progress. Tim has started to reflect on things and to think about how his behaviour affects other people. He is learning to respect authority, and to accept rules. He is learning to look after himself and to talk about his feelings. He is learning to take responsibility for his actions, and to discipline himself, rather than to blame others or certain situations. He is learning to refrain from verbal or physical aggression. Equally, he is learning how to live a healthy lifestyle, how to be more independent, to work hard and to be physically active outdoors. (…) The letters we have written to each other have helped us to strengthen our relationship and we have started to talk about things that have happened and are happening in more detail again. The support workers and the entire Progresso/Tell-Us are accompanying my son through the process he is currently going through. And I can relax for the first time in four years during which I was in what could be called survival modus, rather than anything else. The same applies to E., Tim's sister. Words are almost not enough to express how grateful I am to Progresso, Tell-Us and Jan.

Irene (mother)Irene (Mutter)


My experiences with Progresso have been positive in every way. My son, 14 years old, has been in the care of Progresso for some time now. And after visiting there, I noticed that my son has improved. Although the whole process is taking some time and there have already been some negative reactions on the part of my son, had he stayed here in Düsseldorf, Tobias may well have been in youth detention by now. The contact with the care workers is very good; they report weekly on his progress. Thanks to my visits to Progresso in Portugal, I was able to establish a very good relationship with the care workers. They are approachable at all times if there are any problems. (…) I am relieved that my son is receiving this level of support and care through Progresso, and can get back on the straight and narrow through intensive pedagogical care with all its advantages and disadvantages. I am grateful for our continued good cooperation.

Harry from Düsseldorf (father)


Our son Rick, then aged 13 years and 11 months, went to Portugal on 15 April 2011. (…) 17 months later, in October 2012, (…) we as parents now have a completely different child in front of us, more self-confident, more social, always aware of the fact that he has mental problems but is not crazy. He also still continues to learn whilst back at home, and all of the help and support is making him grow. A child that now slowly dares to talk about feelings and emotions but still needs a lot of help and encouragement to be able to do so. A child that finally enjoys life again. A child who can cope without medication. (…) A child who eats – even   greens. A child who enjoys learning again and tries to make plans for the future, with help. (…) Conclusion: we are seeing a new beginning that allows us to carry on with our son here in the Netherlands with the right extent of support in order to become a family again. As parents, our experience with Tell-Us and Progresso was a very positive one. They always listened, and were there for us with advice and support whenever necessary. This was the first time that we as parents were really involved in caring for and supporting our son, and were not treated like "you are only so-and-so's parents". As parents, we were also given a lot of support, help and advice. This has enabled us to make a fresh start. (…) What you have achieved with Rick is priceless for us. Thank you for everything.

Alex und Linda (parents)


My daughter has been with the Progresso project since May 2009. When I visited her for the first time in August, I already noticed a small change, or rather, a big one, for us. We were able to talk to each other without shouting; that was a nice feeling. When I went on holiday with her on our own in the summer of 2010, I noticed that she behaved less aggressively than she did at home and was able to accept my opinion, too. We   spent a few lovely days together. She now addresses her aggressiveness better and I think she is doing quite well with that. She also enjoys school more and achieves better grades than she did at home. She is now starting to wonder what she wants to do after school, which wasn't of any interest to her before she joined the project. I think she has also understood that you can't change or achieve anything without making an effort. And that you have to work hard for every cent you spend.

Marion, mother


Hi, my name is Jordi. I have been away from home for two years now; the last one and a half years of this with Progresso. The Progresso people have brought me to where I am today, and I am really happy about that. What I have always thought was very special and still think is special is the way they offer support, always tailored to the individual development stage of the young people in their care. So you are always doing what you want to learn to do at the time. It is a really personalised, individual form of support that always leaves room for questions, advice and/or your own opinion. And that was very important for me.

Jordi Jugendlicher


We are the parents of a 19-year-old son with whom things didn't go too well a couple of years ago. He had to have extra tuition at a private school. Luckily, he already had his general secondary school leaving certificate. For a while, he didn't go to school at all and hardly got out of bed the whole day. At that time, he was using soft drugs, but then he went on to experiment with other drugs, too. Things soon went downhill. Although we had arranged for support, this wasn't adequate as the youth worker he had at the time was no longer able to reach our soon. This youth worker then put us  in contact with Jan Mulder from Tell-Us. Our son was initially placed with a couple in France for four months, where he found life difficult but also learnt a lot! After that, he moved on to Progresso in Portugal and improved steadily. He lived together with other young people on a "quinta", a farm, and later on by himself but supported in a village near the quinta. During the day, he still worked on the quinta and also learnt to become more independent. And all the time, Jan Mulder/Tell-Us and the Progresso youth workers still looked after him. He now lives in a slightly larger town and has an exhibition at the local mine. Our son is doing very well now, and this May/June, he is going to come back to the Netherlands to start his vocational training as a physiotherapist. We have an extremely high opinion of Tell-Us and Progresso, and of the support and care they gave our son. At the time, it was a huge step to let him go, but we haven't regretted it even for a minute! During that time, we also went to Portugal together with our daughter twice for a family project. This, too, was an extremely positive experience! We   would never have made it without Tell-Us and Progresso!!!

Eelke and Maria, parents


We were asked to write about our experiences with Progresso/Tell-Us as we have a son who is mentally challenged who has been cared for by Progresso/Tell-Us for quite some years now. Our experiences have been very positive. The support enjoyed by the children is very caring and everyone does everything they can to get the best out of them. Whenever our son comes back to us from a Progresso / Tell-Us project, it is clear that he has made progress. We have also participated in several parent/child projects. They do a lot with the children there. The daily routines are well-regulated, and they have regular tasks that keep them occupied. If you are there over a longer period of time as a young person, you have a quiet and regulated life, you go to school, you work and you take breaks at set times. In addition, every child there has its own particular difficulties which are intensively addressed so that they make true progress; this prevents difficult behaviour. The children there also learn to cope with their weaknesses. They are also taught independence. That is the way it is there; every day, the young people take it in turns to cook, to do the laundry and other chores. They also do sports. At the weekends, they have enough spare time, which they can spend as they like. They also look after the young people's health and their general well-being. They even make sure they send them to a dentist every six months for a check-up. There is a youth worker on site 24 hours a day. We are not worried about leaving our child with Progresso / Tell-Us, as we know that he is in the best of hands there.

The Stakenburg family


My ward has enjoyed the intensive pedagogical care provided by yourself and your colleagues from 26 August 2008 until 30 June 2010. It is important to me to express my thanks and my respect for you as the head of the facilities, and also to your colleagues, in this way. Monika   was a 16-year-old habitual criminal with 28 previous convictions, a predisposition for addictive behaviour and suffering from a personality disorder. Thanks to the above average personal commitment shown by your team, your experience and your professional skills, the goals of youth support were achieved in Monika's case. Collaborating with your team of highly committed professionals was an impressive experience for me. I will happily recommend you. Yours sincerely, M. Ditges / Area Manager / Düsseldorf youth welfare office

[The name of the young person concerned has been changed]


(...) The everyday lives of the young people are clearly structured and accordingly, rules are strictly implemented. In terms of content, their daily lives are characterised by measurable tasks, help with their education, sports, regular everyday chores and leisure time activities. The young people take part in a multi-stage programme. In the course of the individual stages, they can earn privileges, freedoms and more responsibility   dependent on their cooperation and behaviour changes. An important element of the overall concept is the work with the parents. Besides maintaining close contact via telephone calls and emails, the parents fly out to Portugal roughly every three months to spend a week with their children. During that time, joint projects with specific set objectives are carried out, accompanied and subsequently evaluated by the residential care workers. Education support is provided in an individually tailored form within the   scope of a "flexi-school" arrangement that allows the children to prepare for gaining a secondary school leaving certificate at the level aimed for. (...) The support concept and the pedagogical interventions in the residential care homes appear coherent and achieve the intended objectives. Outstanding, and not experienced in this form in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, is the strict implementation of structured daily routines with clear rules. The coordinated collaboration of pedagogues and non-pedagogues (tutors, instructors, riding   instructors etc.) whilst supporting and caring for the young people makes it possible to influence them comprehensively. Another advantage lies in the location of the care homes as such. The seclusion of the residential homes represents a characteristic that strongly prevents abscondment so young people are hardly able to run away from confronting their own problems. Due to the multilingual residential youth workers and the constant contact between young people from Germany and the Netherlands, the foreign language proficiency soon increases, which leads to an understanding of other cultures and countries. The management and the staff act professionally and transparently at all times; the written reports are of a high standard.

V. Franke / Halle youth welfare office


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