Home / Region + Country Categories  / Europe  / SPAIN: New Initiatives Help Youth in Need through Scholarships and Nutrition Program

SPAIN: New Initiatives Help Youth in Need through Scholarships and Nutrition Program

(MissionNewswire) Spain has been hit hard by the current economic troubles in Europe and now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens are living below the poverty line.

Since its inception in 2001, the Salesian Pinardi Federation has been developing programs to help poor youth between the ages of 12 and 16 and is currently operating close to 40 projects aiding more than 2,000 youth. Projects focus on promoting the quality of children’s lives, helping youth retain employment and supporting migrants through family mediation. Other community projects work to raise awareness of volunteerism.

Recently, the Pinardi Federation and Kyocera Document Solutions España SA, have come together in a collaboration to feed youth in Spain’s capital city, Madrid. Thanks to this program, more than 50 youth who are participating in socio-educational programs at a Salesian Center in Parla, Madrid are receiving a free afternoon meal.

For Kyocera, the initiative is part of a corporate social responsibility plan that aims to make employees aware of the needs of children while encouraging them to offer their support. One of many projects Kyocera has worked on with the Pinardi Federation, this project has more than 10 Kyocera staff volunteering to collect donated food from company employees and then deliver it to Parla’s Salesian Center each month.

The afternoon meal offered to each child every afternoon helps to combat the rampant poverty that has affected so many families in Madrid. For some, this is the only balanced meal they receive each day and the hope is that it will give them the energy they need for study and play. The project also aims to educate young people on the importance of nutrition and a balanced healthy diet.

“For many families, their economic situations are in decline in Madrid,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Even those families who were once in the middle class are seeing the effects of poverty. Youth in the program are suffering from a lack of food and nutrition, and as a result are often tired and unable to focus. The food aids the families in caring for their children and in helping youth be better prepared for their activities and lessons.”

The Pinardi Federation is also working to meet the needs of families that are struggling to pay rent, mortgages, utility bills, school fees and food bills. The organization has set up scholarships to help cover the costs of transportation and education materials for youth to enable them to continue in their pursuit of higher or professional education.

“Because Salesians are working directly with families in their local communities, they are able to identify the most pressing needs and then create programs to meet those needs, such as assisting youth continue their education and social development,” adds Fr. Hyde.

These new initiatives are part of a larger program that the Pinardi Federation has developed which includes physical education classes, recreational activities, sports programs, family support and psychological counseling.


ANS – Spain – Programmes to improve nutrition among young people

World Bank – Spain

author avatar