A 2018 calendar featuring images of Portuguese shepherds in varying states of undress is proving to be something of a surprise hit.
The Beautiful Shepherds of the Sierra de Estrela calendar went on sale on Monday and immediately sold out its initial 400 copy print run.
The calendar is the brain child of journalist Liliana Carona who came up with the idea in a bid to raise awareness of Portugal’s hard-working shepherds. “They don’t have rest, they work every day, no holidays. It’s a very hard life”, says Carona.
The calendar has taken on greater significance in the wake of the furious forest fires that ravaged Portugal this year. The fires wiped out an estimated 5,800 sheep, an unsustainable blow for too many of Portugal’s toiling shepherds.
With a price tag of 7.5 euros, half of the proceeds from the sales of the calendars go direct to shepherds, with the other half also making its way to charitable causes.
Carona acknowledges that the financial aid generated by sales of the calendar is just part of the package. By featuring the shepherds themselves, the idea is to raise the profile of the group and also shine a light on their plight, a tactic previously used to raise awareness of the work of firefighters.
The ages and the size of the flocks of those involved varies. Among the shepherds who feature in the calendar are 21-year-old João Rodrigues, the face of January, and 80-year-old Abel Monteiro, the shepherd chosen to represent December.
A second print run of the calendar is planned, and copies can be ordered now via the Notícias de Gouveia Facebook page.