NEWS  »  News  »  CASCI: a different kind of sweet

CASCI, the District of Ílhavo’s Social Action Centre, is one of the largest Portuguese private charity institutes with around 230 employees and 1300 users. It does notable and extremely important work in the region of Aveiro, yet it is largely unknown to the general public.

With a comprehensive range of social responses developed since 1980, and a diverse physical structure with facilities at Gafanha da Nazaré, Ílhavo and Costa Nova, CASCI has always operated with a focus on being “by and for the people”, providing training and integration in the areas of Social Action, Fostering, Childhood and Rehabilitation. Its work can be summarised as follows:

  • A social care and follow-up service and a charity canteen,
  • A day centre and two residential structures for the elderly,
  • Three crèches and three pre-schools,
  • A residential home, three occupational activity centres, a professional rehabilitation centre (with protected job features, made up of 5 production units and the professional training unit) and an inclusion resources centre.


With numerous features, projects, people and entities involved, in 2014 CASCI decided to take a walk on sweet ground and started to work very seriously on confectionery, which is vital to society.

There was an idea many years ago to start manufacturing one of the region’s traditional biscuits - the Raivas de Aveiro, - involving deep knowledge and experience in the art of doing things right. This project always focuses on people, particularly those who need to exercise their hands and keep their minds busy, by concentrating on the task at hand for an obvious purpose.

Under the watchful gaze of monitors, CASCI’s delicious raivas, made by young people with impairments and disabilities, started to tickle taste buds and win customers, transforming confectionery into a project that began to be structured to allow it to take on a life of its own.

This was why CASCI started to search for a solution to provide support to the few people with special needs working at its bakery and to effectively fulfil all orders from the market, making the project sustainable. They tested several different accessories and machines with no success, but then found a solution on the Internet that would provide real added value to their confectionery unit, and it was practically right next door.

The CASCI group took its recipe to Vagos, tested Ferneto’s dough extruder EMA and applied for financing to acquire the equipment, which was granted in full.Without ever taking their eyes off the prize, and trusting in the quality of their raivas, in 2016 it was one of the entities to receive an award from the Mais para Todos project, run by Lidl Portugal with involvement by Sic Esperança. Another step forward and another win.They brought a new friend into production to help save time, and over time created new product references such as bolinhos de coco (coconut balls) and sortidos de bacalhaus.

Today, the Raivas biscuits and the CASCI confectionery are starting to gain ground as a brand, not only due to their high quality and unique flavours, but particularly due to their deep-rooted social responsibility stemming from the contribution of the special people that produce them, like Paulinha, one of the workers who is always sad to see her raivas packaged and sold.

On average, the CASCI confectionery produces 1000 packages of bolo seco cakes, although it has the capacity to produce more.Its products can be acquired directly from the facilities or for retail sale, and can be found on sale in the region’s tourist shops and other outlets.

In addition to confectionery, CASCI produces and sells agricultural products from its farm, it creates and restores furniture in its carpentry workshops, it offers tailoring and pottery services and it owns a teaching farm with space for organising events.In fact, it is a space that can be visited.

We wish CASCI every success and we would like to thank the Rehabilitation Centre’s entire team for their kindness and their welcome to, and presentation of CASCI.


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