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SPAIN: More than 1,800 vulnerable youth receive new shoes

Salesian missionaries hosted an event for the “New shoes for those who need them most” campaign


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Huelva, Spain, hosted a recent event for the “New shoes for those who need them most” campaign, an initiative of the La Caixa Foundation. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Municipality of Huelva and provides new shoes for 1,871 youth from families in vulnerable situations.

The La Caixa Foundation works in collaboration with hundreds of organizations and thousands of volunteers to combat poverty and exclusion, promote medical research, bring culture within everyone’s reach, and improve children’s education. The foundation allocated 18,000 euros ($21,106) for this initiative. One of the collaborative organizations is the Salesian-run Carabela Youth Association in Huelva.

“New shoes provide a sense of dignity for children, especially as they return to school and are outside connecting with their peers,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “In addition, many schools ask parents to invest in required school clothing forcing families to struggle to pay for basic necessities. When children lack appropriate footwear, they are exposed to potential illnesses and injuries. With shoes, they are better able to participate and focus in school.”

Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential, technical and vocational training programs. Although teachers are available to provide distance learning again in the event of a new lockdown, the importance of face-to-face education is emphasized in Salesian schools.

Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain face inequality in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.

Poverty also rose in Spain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, those expecting severe poverty or material deprivation affected reached 7 percent of the population in 2020, around 3.3 million people. This is sharp rise from 4.7 percent registered in 2019, and is slightly below the 7.1 percent seen in 2014, which was at height of the financial crisis in the country.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Spain – New shoes for those who need them most

Salesian Missions – Spain

World Bank – Spain

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