CAIS is a Charity, an IPSS (Private Institution for Social Solidarity), founded in 1994 to promote and support the empowerment and autonomy of people in a situation of homelessness and extreme poverty.
A member of several international organizations, CAIS also has an important role in the promotion of debate and reflexion on issues related to the phenomena of poverty and exclusion, in Portugal and abroad.
The most known and visible action of CAIS is the monthly street magazine (with the same name CAIS), sold on the streets by its associates. For each magazine sold the seller receives a part of the sale.
Although the magazine is an important part of CAIS, it does not summarize what the Association does.
The CAIS Association primarily aims to assist those who for whatever reason are in a precarious situation, but not in a total social exclusion situation. The aim of CAIS is to reintegrate this members back into the society .
The sale of the magazine, car washings, the several workshops and the various activities are tools for those seeking reinstatement.
One of the major differences of CAIS to other institutions is that this does not give unconditionally to their members. Within the of reintegration philosophy, CAIS requires something in return for the usage of the space, meals or the activities: work in the institution, the frequency of the workshops…
I found that CAIS is a meeting place, the only space that some people have, a safe house, a place where they feel safe and useful in a society that excluded them or that they excluded themselves from.
As always where the small and simple things that held me in people, because people are CAIS. The need for companionship, a simple conversation, showing the plants they’re growing, the garden, the poetry writing at the time.
When contacted CAIS, i had a plan to make a story on the Association, but always focusing on the magazine, but quickly realized that CAIS is much more than a magazine, so i decided to dedicated my time simply being in CAIS, watching the day-to-day, the routine, keeping conversation.
Q&A with Pedro Nunes
Question: Photography is…
Photography is freezing a moment. Show people what they can’t or don’t see.
Photography and writing…
Photography and writing are bond. A good story needs good images and vice-versa, otherwise they’re incomplete.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
The work that left me the biggest impression and definitely make me want to be a photojournalist is Invasion Prague 68 by Josef Koudelka. What interested me was not the violence or the war issue, but how Koudelka told the hole story of going back to his own country and documenting the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops, documenting it with such mastery and feeling. From what i know this was Koudelka’s first news photojournalistic work, and for me is definitely the work that left me the biggest impression of all.