Since 48-year-old Helena Mateus was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago, she has struggled to provide for herself and her teenage daughter. Over the years, she has undergone surgery and chemotherapy that forced her into early retirement.
Single mum Helena receives 296 Euros (315 Swiss francs) a month in pension and child benefit, leaving her with little to cover costs beyond housing.
“I pay 231 euro (246 Swiss francs) a month for rent,” she said. “It is difficult to make ends meet, having to pay for the rest of the bills and all the medication I need”
The Lisbon branch of the Portuguese Red Cross offered Helena legal support through the process to prove the paternity of her child. As a result, her 15-year-old-daughter established contact with her father and started receiving a monthly child allowance of 100 euro (106 Swiss francs). The Red Cross also provided Helena with toiletries, a fridge and a pair of prescription glasses she could not otherwise afford.Read More