Our projects

Dona Ajuda


A P.R.A.Ç.A. is the Hub for the Market’s Environmental, Cultural, and Artistic Revival.

Resulting from a partnership between Dona Ajuda and the cultural association POUSIO – Art and Culture, this project seeks to introduce a new activity to one of the spaces within the former Mercado do Rato.

Divided into two main areas, artistic and environmental (circular economy), P. R. A. Ç. A. aims to create synergies among everything and everyone, utilizing what some discard and transforming them into new objects, opening room to new artists, providing space for advocates for a more environmentally friendly society, while combating waste and nurturing creative talents.

P.R.A.Ç.A. embraces many ideas, people, projects, and missions:


Pousio – Art and Culture

This association emerged to address the need to create new contexts for artistic production by connecting national cultural producers, artists, curators, museologists, and researchers with socially or culturally isolated communities in the country.


A space dedicated to selling donated books featuring fiction and non-fiction titles in Portuguese or foreign languages. It is a hub driven by a dynamic team of volunteers.

From online book auctions to creating a book club and second-hand book fairs to the recent organization of the MAL (Book Open Market) fair, which welcomed over 20 independent publishers to P. R. A. Ç. A., the bookstore hosts diverse activities.

The P. R. A. Ç. A. Bookstore is home to thousands of books that, through the principles of the circular economy, have found new purpose after no longer serving their former owners and are now waiting for new ones.

Many donations also come from this bookstore for school libraries in PALOPS (Portuguese-speaking African countries), penitentiaries, and various associations and sociocultural projects we support.

Sewing Workshop

Many of the clothes donated to Dona Ajuda need a button, a rubber band, or even a redo. Thanks to the support of a patron, we have a professional seamstress in P. R. A. Ç. A., who once a week repairs those pieces that deserve to be recovered.

There is also an atelier for the Dona Ajuda clothing line, where clothing items are created using and customizing donated pieces. These creations are later displayed in the Dona Ajuda Social Shop.

Artistic Residencies

Far from the conventional workspace, artists are invited to produce, establish their trading floor, and share their work while developing their own programming during residency.
The residency offers a production space – one of our shops – for three months. These spaces are centrally located in the P. R. A. Ç. A., providing excellent visibility and fostering new collaborations and exchanges between resident artists and other projects.

A residência oferece o espaço de produção – uma das nossas lojas – durante o período de 3 meses. Estas são viradas para o centro da P.R.A.Ç.A., o que proporciona uma grande visibilidade e possibilita novas colaborações e partilhas entre os artistas residentes e os outros projetos.


The Restoration

The furniture and various wooden objects donated to us that are no longer in their best condition are directed to The Restoration. Here, P. R. A. Ç. A. provides the equipment and knowledgeable volunteers in this art, restoring the old/damaged furniture and objects giving them new life and purpose.



It is the Circular Economy Hub of Mercado do Rato – the winning project of the Lisbon City Council’s Participatory Budget 2021.

RE.VIRA.VOLTA was born out of the desire to recycle by using otherwise uninteresting waste and giving it a new destination other than the trash can!

We started with plastic lids, which we collected and gathered to donate to the Portuguese Association of Parents and Friends of the Mentally Disabled Citizen (their sale is one of the funding resources for this association). Then, we collected paper and joined the “Paper for Food” Campaign by Banco Alimentar (“Food Bank”). We have also established a bank of glass bottles (with the concept “bring if you don’t need, take if you do!”) and began to think about larger projects.

We joined other groups of volunteers and enthusiasts of environmental protection and the circular economy. Thus emerged the “RE.VIRA.VOLTA Project- Mercado do Rato Circular Economy Hub,” which was the most-voted project in the Participatory Budget of the Lisbon City Council in 2021.

This project, which has a significant educational component, brings to P. R. A. Ç. A. several initiatives such as a “Tool Library,” a vertical garden, plastic processing machines, new sewing machines, and many other new activities. These are currently being analyzed for implementation by the municipality’s competent services.

The Central Space of P. R. A. Ç. A. is dynamic, flexible, and chameleon-like, constantly evolving with different purposes and objectives.

From classical concert hall or jam sessions to Dona Ajuda’s goods market, passing through a stage for artistic performances, room for training workshops, exhibitions, setting for corporate team-building events, or community gathering spaces for a St. Martin’s celebration, the Central Space encompasses all these capabilities and many more.

We also have several projects with which we are associated, and which are already part of us.

Every Tuesday, we distribute three hundred baskets of fruits and vegetables from the Ugly Fruit Cooperative.The main objective of this cooperative is to reduce the tons of high-quality food discarded into the soil annually by farmers, thereby preventing unnecessary expenditure of the resources utilized in their production. By changing consumption patterns, this project aims to ensure that in the future, all high-quality fruit and vegetable products are marketed equally, regardless of size, color, or shape.

Also on Tuesdays, at P. R. A. Ç. A., we have bread baked in a wood-fired oven, with or without chorizo, provided by the Vale de Acor Association (supporting drug addicts, alcoholics, and ex-prisoners). We are also one of the pickup points for the renowned Frattellini Gelatos (a social enterprise of the Vale de Acor Association).

Loja Social da Dona Ajuda

Monday to Friday from 11h00 AM to 6h00 PM | Saturday from 11h00 AM to 7h00 PM | Sundays and Holidays: Closed
Rua Alexandre Herculano 64, Mercado do Rato,
1250-012 Lisbon