Mezze-Escola (Mezze-School)

Project facts

Project promoter:
Pão a Pão Association(PT)
Project Number:
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
Other Project Partners
Lisbon School of Hospitality and Tourism(PT)


The “Mezze-Escola” project aims to empower 20 migrants and refugees, especially women and young people between the ages of 18 and 50, with a view to their integration into the labour market in the restaurant and hospitality sector. To achieve this goal, the project offers training in the areas of financial, cultural and legal literacy, and in food hygiene and safety. In addition to theoretical training, the project includes a practical component in a work context. 

Summary of project results

The number of asylum requests in Portugal at the end of 2019 was 1465, representing an increase of 36% compared to the same period in 2018. According to the Migration Observatory, Portugal stands out among the countries with the highest decision rates of positive responses to asylum requests.

In recent years, the granting of refugee status in Portugal has increased (+170% between 2016 and 2018), and the granting of residence permit titles for subsidiary protection has also increased. There are several responses to welcoming refugees and immigrants to Portugal, but employability solutions seem to continue to be lacking. This group faces several obstacles, such as language, culture shock and lack of professional experience, particularly among women and young adults.

According to the Zaragoza Declaration resulting from the European Ministerial Conference on Integration, migrant women, especially those from non-European countries, constitute one of the most vulnerable groups.

The Pão a Pão Association decided, for the reasons mentioned above, to focus on the issue of Integration through enhancing employability, especially among women and young adults who, due to the war, were forced to interrupt their studies.

The “Mezze-Escola” project took place between June 2021 and December 2022. This project developed a training programme for the integration of refugees and migrants into the job market. The training took place in two locations: the Lisbon Hotel and Tourism School, for theoretical training and the Mezze restaurant for on-the-job training. The project surpassed its target with 29 vulnerable individuals reached by empowerment measures, with a total of 500 hours of training taught. The project also produced training manuals and an employment platform.

Pão-a-Pão also built their organisational needs assessment and action plan and then created a communication and marketing plan, and dedicated a human resource to implementing the communication and marketing strategy.

25 people received the training completion diploma; 9 of these 25 found work at the end of the project (36%) and 2 have decided to pursue further education (8%).

The project remains in operation and is expanding. Mezze-Escola won the "Hospitality Education Awards" as the best innovation project in the area of Tourism in Portugal in 2022.

Information on the projects funded by the EEA and Norway Grants is provided by the Programme and Fund Operators in the Beneficiary States, who are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of this information.