João Martins is to serve as ADRA Europe director following recommendations from both the Inter-European Division (EUD) and Trans-European Division (TED) Spring Meetings.
Martins, who currently serves as ADRA director for the EUD will be based in Brussels and will develop a team that will co-ordinate and work together with all the various country directors across Europe. The concept for a European office has been under discussion and development for several years but came to a head during an ADRA refugee crisis summit held in Zagreb last January.
Martins, a native of Portugal, lives and breathes ADRA. After completing a degree in Enterprise Management at Évora University, he headed to Angola, finding himself in what he describes as “a very harsh situation”, managing relief projects during the civil war. He says, “This first experience created a very positive and unforgettable impact in my life. After returning back to my country and working in a Multi-National Company, I’ve found that being in ADRA is a much more meaningful way of life, where I can serve God and humanity.”
As a result he headed to Reading University in the UK, completing an MSc in Applied Development Studies before heading back to Portugal were he has served for the past twelve years, first as Finance and Programmes director and then as Country director for ADRA Portugal. During this time he was able to network effectively with other NGO’s in Portugal, implementing a system of national programmes and raising the awareness of the Church in the area of social issues. He also effectively met the challenge of developing fundraising strategies in a time of serious financial constraint.
Since October 2015 Martins has served as ADRA EUD director, giving him opportunity to get to know the complicated challenges that a region director faces, especially in the context of the movement of refugees across Europe.
Martin’s states that among his goals in leading ADRA Europe, he would like to create a regional structure “that will be able to serve effectively the ADRA country offices in their partnerships with each other, the church, potential institutional donors, other Civil Society Organisations and the ADRA Network.”
Martins is a committed Seventh-day Adventist, joining the Church in 1990 and has since served as a local elder as well as youth leader at local, regional and national levels. His experience has also been valued as a trustee of the Portuguese Publishing house, and in several other church institutions. He is married to Ausenda Martins and has a 10-year-old son. When not engrossed in the work of ADRA he enjoys socialising with friends and family, playing sports, and traveling.
His vision is that ADRA in Europe may be an Agency of reference, reflecting the character of God by the promotion of human dignity in a suffering world.