Portugal is a European nation with a rich cultural history located along the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s land mass includes over a thousand miles of coast and is roughly the size of Virginia. The history of its people dates back over a thousand years and has had a global influence, reflected in the fact that today there are over 260 million Portuguese speakers in the world while the country of Portugal has only about 10 million people.

Global Builders teams work in and around Braga, an ancient city of about 200,000 residents that today is renowned for its architecture and advanced industry. Though a well developed area, some are left behind and needs remain, such as overcrowding, houses without sanitation and drinking water, electrical issues, and poorly insulated homes. 

Getting Involved

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Volunteer on one of our Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Portugal and get to know the local people and culture while you partner with families to complete a home.
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back.

House Sponsorship Cost (Like New): $60,000

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click “Join” to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

City Trip Number Team Leaders Dates of Trip Cost Status
Braga 11042 First Lutheran Church July 21 - August 4, 2024 Full
Braga 11046 Jolene Hartwick September 15 - 22, 2024 Full
Braga 11043 Andy RivinusSeptember 22 - 29, 2024 Full
Braga 11049 Bettie Coltrane October 6 - 13, 2024 Full
Braga 11054 John MitchellOctober 27 - November 3, 2024 $1640 Join
Braga 11052 AIS Vienna - Peter Forsgren November 13 - 16, 2024 Full
Braga 11050 Duane HershbergerNovember 24 - December 1, 2024 $1640 Join
Braga 11053 Quyen Tu December 1 - 8, 2024 $1640 Join
Braga 11051 NC State University December 12 - 19, 2024 Full
Braga 11055 Staci Summers May 18 - 25, 2025 Full
Braga 11056 Donna Brightman May 25 - June 1, 2025 Full
Braga 11044 Duane Hershberger August 31 - September 7, 2025 $1640 Join
Braga 11047 Jolene Hartwick September 28 - October 5, 2025 Full
Braga 11048 Jolene Hartwick October 5 - 12, 2025 Full
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Fuller Center Portugal focuses on rebuilding or completing homes, with most of the projects focused on the rural areas on the outskirts of the cities. Each home project is different, starting with what is already built and utilizing as much of the existing construction as possible. The exterior walls are typically masonry or a 2-panel brick system, with thermal insulation, plastered from the outside and painted. Roofs typically consist of wooden supports that hold roofing tiles, which also get insulated. 

Homes include simple yet modern kitchens, and bathrooms that provide sanitation and access for those who may lack mobility, now or in the future. Other important elements — often made available to these families for the first time in their lives — are hot water, finished floors, and gas stoves and heating. 

The families become true partners in the process, helping in the construction work done on their homes and repaying the costs on a no-profit, no-interest basis. Their repayments remain in Portugal and get recycled to help the next families, turning the partner families into not just recipients, but givers. 

Portuguese volunteers actively support the efforts, but international volunteers still play an important role  in advancing their efforts.

What is a trip like?

Each trip to Portugal will be with a group of mission-minded volunteers – typically 8-15 total – who want to experience the world, meet new people, and make a difference. No skills required, and trips last 1-2 weeks and include time for local R&R activities.

Sample Schedule:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. – Depart for work-site
  • 9:00 a.m. – Meeting about work for the day and safety tips
  • 9:15 a.m. – Start building
  • 1:00 p.m. – Lunch at a local restaurant near the worksite
  • 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Continue building
  • 4:30 p.m. – Depart for Domus Guest House
  • 7:00 p.m. – Dinner at Domus Guest House or local restaurant

Exact schedules can be discussed and set depending on the team’s preferences and length of stay.

We will be mostly repairing and completing homes throughout the area. A typical home is about 1,000 square feet with masonry construction and tile roofs. Volunteers may participate in a variety of work, such as demolition, digging, tying rebar, mixing concrete, pounding nails, building brick walls, laying tiles, plastering, painting, and cutting rebar.  

We will provide necessary tools, but as with most build sites, it never hurts to bring a few small hand tools with you like gloves, safety glasses, dust masks, tape measures, pliers, and screw drivers. 

This is certainly a place where you can be excited about the lodging! Fuller Center teams will stay at the Domus Guest House, a lovely Bed and Breakfast type of building with double and triple rooms. It even has a pool!

Breakfast will be provided at the Guest House, lunch at restaurants near the worksite, and dinners split between the Domus Guest House and local restaurants. 

Transportation to and from the airport in Braga as well as between the lodging and worksite each day are provided. The worksites are typically about 30 minutes from the guest house, though they vary.

A full packing list is provided in the Portugal guidebook. Bed linens and towels are provided at the Domus Guest House, but you will want to bring your own toiletries. In addition, work boots for the construction site are required, and Fuller Center Portugal asks teams to also bring safety gear such as a dust mask, gloves, ear plugs and knee pads. Some “nicer” clothes are also helpful to have for dinners and evenings out. 

Portugal has incredible cultural heritage that includes over 2,000 years of history in the Braga district with traces left from all the ages, and our partners are thrilled to help you get a taste of it during your visit. Options include:

  • Historical and active religious sites like the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus Do Monte and the Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães
  • Kingdom sites, such as Guimarães City, a Castle, and the Palace Duques de Bragança
  • Other elegant regional cities with temples, art, bridges, monasteries, rivers and coastlines

Prices vary based on team size and trip duration, but a typical trip to Portugal will last 7 days and cost around $1350 to $1600 per person depending on the length of stay and other options. That fee covers your lodging, food, in-country transportation, insurance, and a donation to fund the project. Fees do not include airfare, visa fees,  tips, or site-seeing (unless otherwise indicated). 

If looking to bring a group contact globalbuilders@fullercenter.org for more details and submit your trip proposal here. 

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!

Get to Know the Domus Guest House

Pricing – What’s included?

Team Materials Fuller Center hat, t-shirt, country guidebook, fundraising page (optional), & more
Trip Support Easy contact with Team Leader and Global Builders staff
Food and Drink 3 meals a day provided at the Guest House and outstanding local restaurants
Transportation To and from work sites and airport
Lodging Domus Guest House
Travel Insurance Provided by Berkley Accident and Health, with Healix Emergency Assistance Services. More details are provided upon registration or request. 
Life-changing work Alongside your teammates and the homeowners!

What happens after the trip?

Even after you return, your trip can have a sustained impact on both you and the community in which you served! 
Learn how on our Country Champions page.

PHOTO GALLERY: Typical Before & Afters