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smart cities

Major cities around the world are aiming to reinvent themselves as smart cities. Smart cities integrate new technology that has already been successful for individual households into largescale cities. The modern household has an abundance of people and appliances connected through the internet. The tech-world refers to this phenomenon as the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart cities will take advantage of new technology to become the utopias of sci-fi. On a laundry list of issues to tackle, homelessness stands as one of the most imposing. While some cities concede that the leap forward will not solve homelessness, they are optimistic about broaching benefits for the homeless.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is looking to join other European Union cities in offering on-line diaries.  These semi-private journals will allow the homeless to account for their location and day-to-day activities. Most importantly, they will keep track of crucial information, like medical records, potentially saving lives in critical situations. This addresses a symptom of modern life that has only gotten worse over time. Authorities treat individuals without documentation as though they never existed, and therefore, these individuals cannot benefit fully from the modern information age.

People often take being in the system for granted. Medical records, employment history and interpersonal connections are integral pieces of information to share in modern life. The homeless in smart cities will no longer be invisible people.

Birmingham, England

Many different charity organizations address specific issues out of the multitude of problems that the smart cities face. A divide and conquer strategy is necessary but it benefits from a coordinated approach across groups. Change into Action, a partnership of the Birmingham City Council, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority, unites all of the major charity organizations in Birmingham together.

 Fortunately, citizens now have an easy way to select exactly how charities will use their money to help the homeless in smart cities. This donation strategy targets two key psychological barriers for the average benefactor. The first is that people are overwhelmed when they face a multitude of problems they would like to try to remedy. People are more likely to donate now that they can specifically send £2 for a hot meal to someone in need. The second barrier that is broken is the identifiable victim effect. While potential donors may not know exactly who their money is going to, they are able to conceptualize the individual that will receive their help and are more likely to donate.

Jhansi, India

Energy-efficient housing is another technological advancement that smart cities are integrating into their new smart infrastructure. Wealthy people have been able to experience the monetary benefits of energy-efficient housing for some time now, as they can afford modern homes. Modern, energy-efficient homes use less energy and therefore cost less to live in. Jhansi, India has stated in its smart city initiative report that it aims to provide energy-efficient affordable housing for about 7,000 households. The homeless in smart cities will have the opportunity to afford to pay their utility bills and keep a roof over their heads. 

A variety of cities within different countries are all benefitting from embedding smart technology into their framework. The Chief Information Officer of Adelaide, South Australia Peter Auhl, said that the smart city planning phase is the most critical for success and that cities should purchase technology with a direct goal in mind. Saving the homeless from the neglect they experience is a goal that smart cities can achieve.

– Nicholas Pihralla
Photo: Pixabay

African Immigration to Spain
While Eastern and Central Europe have been dealing with the brunt of the refugee crisis—thanks to conflicts in Syria and the rest of the Middle East—Western Europe is far from unaffected. However, a large number of immigrants in Spain originate from West Africa, and they come to Spain for a variety of different reasons; both as refugees, and in search of economic opportunity unavailable to them in their home countries. This article takes a look at the causes of African immigration to Spain, as well as the living conditions immigrants experience in their new host country.

Five Questions and Answers

1. Why are People from Western and Central Africa Leaving their Home Countries?

The short answer is a variety of reasons. While the overall volume of immigrants to Europe has dropped to pre-2015 levels, African immigration to Spain is still spurred by more than just garden-variety economic migration—though that certainly still plays a large role. The reasons for migration vary greatly by gender, with most men emigrating for economic reasons while most women are leaving due to threats of violence.

2. Why Spain?

Spain has a labor shortage and is more welcoming to migrants than other European countries. While geography is a major factor in emigration from Spain to Africa (the Strait of Gibraltar is slightly over seven nautical miles from the African mainland to Spain), Spain has—until very recently—been a notable exception to the anti-immigrant sentiment overtaking much of Europe. The current Spanish government is center-left, with over 80 percent of adult poll respondents saying that they would be in favor of taking in irregular refugees. New agricultural sectors in the south of Spain—mainly greenhouse farming—have also created an unskilled economy that few Spaniards find attractive, but looks promising to refugees.

3. How do Immigrants get There?

Refugees arrive in Spain either by the Spanish enclaves in Morocco or the dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean. The most immediate destination for African immigration to Spain is the enclave city of Ceuta, which is politically Spanish and geographically Moroccan but is governed more or less autonomously, like Catalonia or the Basque Country. Some also arrive via ship, in the infamously choppy Mediterranean. The first decision of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s administration was to admit the Aquarius, a ship of more than 600 migrants, into Spain after Italy turned it away.

4. What Kind of Life is Waiting for Immigrants Once they Arrive?

“Nobody talks about what it’s really like.” Many of the African migrants in Spain live in the southern regions, doing seasonal agricultural work. This is especially true for the men who emigrated to Spain for economic reasons, trying to send money back home to their loved ones. Despite the supposed greater economic opportunity that comes from a Eurozone nation, many of the African migrants in Spain live in ramshackle chabolas, makeshift shacks comprised of wood and plastic leftover from agricultural scrap. In these settlements, more migrants have mobile phones than access to a toilet or kitchen.

5. Is Spain’s Generosity Towards Migrants Coming to an End?

The short answer is yes. The majority of African immigration to Spain comes through Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar, but the path of many migrants does not end there. Recently, Spain has come under fire from other European leaders for being the exception to an otherwise-ubiquitous tight border policy, which has put pressure on the Spanish government to somehow stem the tide. In response, Spain has outsourced its border security to Morocco, the country that processes most migrants to Spain. This has alarmed left-leaning political groups and human rights NGOs, who claim that Morocco’s human rights record is inadequate.

While Spain has upheld the Sanchez government’s initial promise of being more accepting of migrants, large-scale African immigration to Spain and pressure from other European leaders has prompted a tightening of the flow of migrants through Morocco and the Mediterranean. While the conditions African migrants find in Spain are far from luxurious, the work is good enough for them to continue to migrate. What Spain ultimately decides to do in regard to the influx of immigrants from Africa could either continue to serve as a lone exception to the rest of Europe or join the continent in its increasing anxiety over immigration.

– Rob Sprankle
Photo: Flickr

child poverty in spain
Since the end of Spain’s economic recession in 2014, the country is the largest grower in the EU, with a GDP almost twice that of the average European country. Despite a six-year recession that impacted both the entire population and other countries in the Eurozone, the economy seems to have recovered. However, despite Spain’s economic recovery, the rate and likelihood of children in poverty have increased exponentially. Curiosity arises as to how an issue like poverty could arise in a country as developed as Spain.

The Problem

The rise of child poverty in Spain despite the recovery of the economy seems counterintuitive. However, studies show that one in three children are likely to be impoverished or socially excluded, according to the EU’s latest figures. As the results of their studies show, Spanish children are not only encumbered by a lack of income, but also lack of socialization, meaning that child poverty in Spain is multidimensional; this means a lack of proper education, nutrition, future employment, and social time on top of the financial crisis that has remained in many middle and low-class families despite the national economic recovery. Impoverished families are unable to prevent their children from reaching the same fate because the turn of the recession has resulted in a job market that provides no opportunity for even the most qualified candidates.

This issue is most dominant in middle and low-class families, and the middle class is already dangerously small. The trademark economic concept of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is true in the Spanish socioeconomic classes and results in the stretching and thinning of the middle class. These larger socioeconomic effects are only symptoms of child poverty in Spain. The reason why the focus of the recession is on children is that they are the most at-risk demographic; when parents are impacted, it extends to their children.

The Larger Issue

Child poverty in Spain has adverse effects on the rest of society, including senior citizens, young adults, and parents. The growing number of impoverished children puts pressure on the social pension systems that account for one of the fastest aging populations in Europe. Children trapped in poverty will grow to be adults who remain reliant on social and governmental assistance. Many young adults avoided higher education due to attractive employment opportunities before the recession, leaving a large population of eager, unaccredited workers in a job market that no longer needs it. Because of the lack of opportunity in the job market, parents are reliant on unemployment benefits or the pension of their parents.

Effects of The Problem

Because child poverty in Spain is a multidimensional issue, the effects correspond to their complexity. In terms of education, Spain has experienced a drop out rate 23 percent higher than the EU average since the beginning of the recession in 2008. In general, Spain’s dropout and unemployment rates are high, specifically among those of disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Studies show that even very brief bursts of intense poverty can impact child development for the rest of their lives. Economists and child development specialists predict that if this poverty persists, the adults of the future will have been stunted in their development due to their reliance on pensions.

What Is Being Done?

Even Sevilla, the fifth most populated city in Spain and a huge tourist destination, falls victim to increasing child poverty rates. There are many gaps in the welfare system that are unaccounted for, which are essential to the development of children. For example, because of limited monthly income but the need to continue to feed their children, families are buying enough food for everyone, but without the necessary nutrients for developing bodies. As such, children in Spain aren’t necessarily hungry, they are impoverished. So, NGOs like Save the Children fill in the gaps in children’s diets by providing nutrient-rich meals.

Save the Children works in several domains that benefit the needs of at-risk or impoverished Spanish children, including nutrition, health and education. By filling in the dietary and academic gaps in these children’s lives, their families will have some security. In 2014, Save the Children reached 14,889 children and 5,635 adults through programs that combat educational poverty, social exclusion, and workshops that prevent the issue from furthering. The hope is that as the recovery continues, economic reform will result in a balancing of socioeconomic classes and the disparity will vanish. Until then, NGOs like Save the Children will continue to try and cover up the remaining holes in the system left by the recession in the hopes that the children they serve will grow up to lead a generation where poverty is the exception, not the expectation.

Hope for The Future

Child poverty is a major issue because these children will grow up to be the leaders of their nation. The increased rate of child poverty in Spain is an alarming problem that is fueled by an economic crisis and a weak social infrastructure. Child poverty in Spain is different than in other countries. Spanish children are not poor in the traditional sense. They are fed and have access to education. The nature of poverty is more nuanced than a lack of resources. Children in Spain are fed, yet malnourished, have access to school, but often drop out. The other key issue is the lack of socialization among peers. However, with NGOs like Save the Children who provide programs to areas in need, this issue can perhaps be alleviated. With directed efforts towards these specific problems and programs that are tailored towards the specific nature of these issues, child poverty can be eradicated, securing Spain’s future prosperity.

Andrew Yang
Photo: Flickr

Facts about Poverty in Spain
Spain is a simultaneous representative of both the success and the struggles of twenty-first
century Europe. The Spanish economy was hit particularly hard by the 2008 recession that sent shockwaves throughout global markets. As a result, Spain, along with Greece and Italy, has often been cited as an example of the straining of Eurozone economics. Though Spain remains firmly a developed country, the country’s struggle with poverty should not be overlooked. Here are nine important facts about poverty in Spain.

Nine Facts About Poverty in Spain

  1. Over one-quarter (26.6 percent) of the Spanish population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion as of 2017. These results do also show, however, that this number has fallen from a peak of 29.4 percent in 2014.
  2. Spain has the highest youth poverty rate (.221) in Western Europe. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organization, Spain sits ahead of both its neighbors, Portugal and Italy, and is even ahead of its Mediterranean counterpart Greece.
  3. Nearly 40 percent of Spain’s youth labor force were unemployed in 2017. This number is compared to a 9.2 percent in the Euro Area.
  4. Poverty in Spain is concentrated in rural areas. A chart published by a Spanish statistical website compares the different regions of Spain based on their per capita GRP (gross regional product) or PIB in Spanish. In general, the more rural provinces, such as Extremadura, Castilla La Mancha and Andalucía, have a lower GRP than the Basque country, Madrid and Catalonia. The poorest households in Spain are those of young, inexperienced foreigners who live in southern Spain.
  5. The migrant crisis has put a strain on Spanish support systems. The New York Times reports that over 20,000 migrants have reached Spain by sea in 2018. This has put added pressure on the migrant support systems and increased the population of those in need of assistance.
  6. About 34.4 percent of Spanish households were unable to afford a week-long vacation in 2017 according to data compiled by the National Statistics Institute, a Spanish government agency. This is down, however, from 45.8 percent when the study began in 2013.
  7. Unemployed Spaniards are gaining employment via temporary or part-time jobs. Now that Spain’s economy is rebounding, many new jobs have been created and, although temporary, they may help ease the poverty of previously unemployed Spaniards.
  8. Spanish youths are the beneficiaries of the European Commission’s Youth Guarantee program. This program has the mission of ensuring that all of Europe’s young people have “a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship and traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.” This program, among others like it, hopes to reduce youth unemployment and a more employed workforce may mean a reduction in poverty.
  9. Spain is now recovering well from the 2008 recession. According to a 2017 article by the New York Times, the economy of Spain is growing roughly at three percent, is producing goods for export and “is restoring a sense of normalcy” to the country. With this growth, the unemployment rate is expected to decline as per the European Commission’s forecast for 2018.

In Spain, the reduction of poverty and economic recovery in the wake of the 2008 recession represent great strides for a long-troubled economy. These facts about poverty in Spain show that more people in the country are working, and there are more and more jobs being created. These strides must not be undervalued. However, continued efforts in Spain are needed to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for all.

– William Menchaca

Photo: Flickr

  • Education in Spain

Education in Spain is a broad and extended topic. Although the federal form of government in the country resides in Madrid, and is lead by the prime minister Mariano Rajoy, the country is divided within 17 autonomous regions that have smaller forms of government within each one. This leads to some schools in Spain teaching Spanish in the particular dialect from each region, such as in Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia and more.

The Spanish schooling system is divided within three categories: public schools, private schools and state-funded private schools. Regardless of public schools being completely funded by the state, thus free of charge for the students who attend such schools, class materials, books and sometimes uniforms still need to be paid with citizens’ own money.

Sunken within the 2008 economic crisis, the European country of Spain has just now started to recover its economy and generate interest, breaking the loop that has positioned the country at the second highest unemployment rate within the European Union, Greece taking the first place. The sector that has been most affected by the economic crisis of the past several years has been public education in Spain. This issue has been a notoriously increasing one since the economic crisis started, due to extreme budget cuts on the public schooling system within the European country.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy declared José Ignacio Wert as the minister for education in the year of 2011, and from then to 2015, when Wert was substituted by Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, education was greatly affected. From the year 2012 to 2013, public schools’ teaching systems declined when sharp cuts forced the government to leave up to 25,000 teachers unemployed. Public universities’ tuition fees increased by 66 percent, taking Spanish citizens out on the street to protest the dreadful management that increased the numbers of people who could not afford education for their families.

The main consequence regarding these issues has been the increase of school dropouts, which stood at an alarming rate of 25 percent in 2014, the highest school dropout rate in the European Union. However, there is good news. Even with high levels of poverty, education in Spain was ranked as having the 12th lowest inequality gap for students of all the countries in Europe.

Spanish residents fight for a better schooling system and education in Spain everyday. The lack of teachers, economic resources and the increase of students per class have lead to a series of educational strikes in order to make the Spanish government understand and respond to the gravity of the issue.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Spain

Spain is best described as the land of Picasso and Gaudí by art lovers and home to Real Madrid and Barcelona by football fans across the world. Spain is a great tourist destination, thanks to its unique culture which includes the great dance form of flamenco, the celebration of La Tomatina and the famous bullfighting.

However, Spain has always struggled economically compared to other European states. The early 2000s saw a great change, as Spain became one of the strongest economies in the EU. Foreign direct investment tripled from 1990 to 2000. Unfortunately, the financial crisis of 2008 hit Spain the hardest of any country in the eurozone, as it had relied heavily on property and the construction sector. The unemployment rate increased dramatically and banks failed.

In 2012, the poverty rate in Spain was estimated at 21.1 percent. Today, Spain has recovered from the recession and is growing fast, but issues still linger. Most of the work available is of low quality, wages remain low and the unemployment rate is still at 18 percent, and almost 40 percent for youths, while strikes and job insecurity are still very common. These issues most impact families with children. According to UNICEF, 40 percent of children in Spain are living in poverty, which is the third-highest in the EU.

The reduction in spending on healthcare and education as austerity measures have had a negative long-term impact. Social protection policies are not focusing on children and their sustainable future. The gap in social protection for children and people over 65 is the highest in Europe. Spain also has the biggest wealth gap in Europe, with the middle-class disappearing and wealth concentrated in the hands of very few.

The good news is that the last three years have seen impressive growth in Spain’s economy. The government has outlined several solutions to decrease the poverty rate in Spain:

  1. New labor market reforms offer subsidies to firms hiring the young, women and long-term unemployed.
  2. Ensuring adequate income in old age and boosting private pension schemes that guarantee less risk of poverty among the old.
  3. Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship through friendly policies.
  4. Investing in early childhood education and care as well as providing vocational training for youths.
  5. Overhauling the tax and transfer system.

As the country works to revive its economy, it is key to prioritize reducing the poverty rate in Spain. To make that happen, all its policies must be directed towards inclusiveness and concerning the existing inequalities.

Tripti Sinha

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Andorra
Andorra is a mountainous region located between France and Spain, officially a principality with two co-princes and its own constitution. Known for having lavish skiing attractions, Andorra had a 2014 GDP of $3.28 billion. With a population of just 85,000, this gives Andorra the ninth-highest GDP per capita in the world, at about $53,000. No data exists on poverty in Andorra, but it is generally assumed to be nonexistent.

Andorrans enjoy a high standard of living and have the highest life expectancy in the world, at 83.5 years. Most exports consist of technology equipment such as integrated circuits and orthopedic appliances, along with another stream of revenue, briquette sales. GDP has risen steadily since 2013, partially due to austerity measures.

Dominated by an urban population, only five percent of the region’s land is arable. That is why most food has to be imported from other countries. Prior to tourism, agriculture was the leading stream of revenue as tobacco was sold.

Major sources of income now include tourism and retail sales on products like perfume because of the country’s duty-free status. These are the primary sources of wealth and account for three-quarters of GDP.

The government of Andorra did a good job stabilizing its economy after the steady decline in tourism that occurred after 2010. Relaxation of the residency and investment laws contributed to the country’s attractiveness to foreign visitors, however now its relatively small housing market is among the many around the world affected by speculation.

With lavish hotels and a change in laws, stabilization of tourism was able to occur. Even with a negative trade balance, poverty in Andorra is minimal and the country is projected to continue to rise in GDP into 2017. Taking the appropriate steps helped the Andorran economy recover.

Nick Katsos

Photo: Flickr

Education in Spain

Education in Spain is important to the country’s future. Although the literacy rate in Spain among male and female youth has been extremely high for many years, the country has been devastated by a financial crisis and a depleting economy. In Spain, the literacy rate for youth ages 15 to 24 is excellent. The U.N.’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that an estimated 99.5% of males and an estimated 99.7% of women were literate from 2008 to 2012. These numbers are very promising but Spain’s ongoing financial crisis might make these statistics a thing of the past.

The European Union (EU) mandated spending cuts that required Spain’s “education spending [which] amounted to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2014… [must now] fall below 4 percent in 2015.” The reductions in public funding also increased university tuition, cut student scholarships, increased class sizes and cut teacher salaries. In the previous year alone, Spain experienced education cuts of $2.2 billion. Consequently, there was an estimated decrease in student enrollment by 45,000 students.

In order to make the system of education in Spain more appealing and beneficial for students, José Ignacio Wert, Spain’s minister of Education, implemented new legislation called the Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE). This piece of legislation made numerous changes to Spain’s educational system and warranted mixed feelings between the people of Spain.

One of LOMCE’s initiatives was to end a practice called Selectividad, an entry-level exam that incoming international students were required to pass before being accepted. Another initiative reduced the amount of undergraduate schooling from four years to three and increased the Master’s School requirement from one year to two. Wert said this was a significant change because Spain is “currently isolated from the rest of Europe. We currently don’t recognize graduates from other countries with a three-year degree, even if they come from Cambridge.”

Education in Spain

Wert believes that by implementing LOMCE, Spanish families will save $168 million altogether and students will be eligible to enter the job market by age 21. This is where the LOMCE education bill has created mixed feelings throughout the country because many students have a very different perspective on the matter. The LOMCE education bill was ratified in 2013 and that has decided the future of many students.

For one, students believed that by cutting undergraduate education by one whole year, they were losing the quality of education they could have experienced. Additionally, students believed Wert increased the Master’s School requirement by a full year in order for students to shell out more money to obtain their degrees.

The newly ratified bill for education in Spain is also basing the future of every student off of the examination score they receive on standardized tests. The recorded scores will determine what regions of Spain receive the most educational funding and what students are allowed to continue their education. The students that fall below the minimum requirement “will be separated and their vocational training determined for them.”

Wert stands by the LOMCE education bill because he believes it will help bring Spain’s educational system up to par with the other European countries. The only problem is, Spain’s history of civil war and fascist dictatorship sets it apart from other European countries.

The reign of General Francisco Franco left a gigantic scar throughout Spain and makes its citizens wary of any laws passed down by the national government. Wert and the people of Spain have to find a solution that will provide all aspiring students with the opportunity to pursue an education, without cutting university funding, scholarships and teachers’ wages.

Terry J. Halloran

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in SpainAs other European countries experience a resurgence in economic growth and subsequently lower unemployment rates after the 2009 Eurozone crisis, poverty in Spain and the unemployment rate are on the rise.

Both the unemployment and poverty rates in Spain currently stand at approximately 21%, with the majority of the impoverished and unemployed concentrated in southern Spain. Regions of northern Spain, especially the Basque Country, have much lower poverty rates due to being a hub for major aeronautic and energy industries.

The stark divide between Spain’s wealthier northern provinces and poorer southern regions has exacerbated the inequality in the distribution of resources and wealth, creating unstable conditions despite Spain’s improving economy.

Poverty in Spain impacts children below the age of 16 more than any other age group, including the elderly. In 2013, one in three Spanish children lived in poverty or were at risk of social exclusion. The average percentage of children living in poverty in the European Union (EU) is 27.6% while Spain tops the EU average at 32.6%, according to the Guardian.

Spain’s high child poverty rate is best explained by budget cuts to child spending in response to Spain’s Great Recession that began in 2008 and persisted until 2015. The Spanish government cut child spending by 15% in 2010, which negatively impacted the quality of education and access to educational resources in Spain. Subsequently, Spain’s school dropout rate reached 24% in 2015, the highest in the EU.

To uplift underprivileged children from poverty in Spain, members of the Spanish Alliance for Investing in Children (SAI­­C) strive to improve the quality of Spain’s educational system in addition to providing health and child development services in resource-poor communities.

Save the Children Spain, a member of the SAIC, believes that the risk of child poverty is strongly linked to a child’s level of education and that of their parents. In a recent report, Save the Children Spain proposes that public policy should reflect the needs of Spain’s children including increased access to education, health services, sports, cultural activities and everything that contributes to interpersonal development.

Poverty in Spain Facts

Increasing the quality of and access to education also has the potential to gradually reduce Spain’s dismal unemployment rate. However, a manifesto drafted by 100 economists suggests immediate policy reforms that could temper Spain’s volatile labor market–the root of Spain’s rising unemployment rate.

Historically, Spanish workers have had rigid, open-ended labor contracts, particularly during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Under Franco, workers who were laid off received compensation amounting to 60 days of pay for each year they worked. Currently, Spanish employers must offer 33 days of severance pay for every year worked for their permanent employees.

In 1984, the use of temporary contracts became a popular way for companies to avoid the responsibility of expensive worker’s compensation. Temporary contracts typically last a maximum of two years and offer low salaries, little protection and low layoff pay (about eight days of pay per year worked). In 2015, 92% of the 15.4 million labor contracts signed in Spain were temporary and one in four contracts were for seven days or less, according to Fortune Magazine.

Under the skewed structure of Spain’s economy, there is too much leeway for companies to exploit temporary workers. Thus, the Manifesto of the 100 Economists aims to protect working Spaniards from high job turnover rates by eliminating the duality of the labor market and having all workers under one contract.

The proposed contract would adjust Spain’s layoff pay to incentivize employers to invest in permanent employees while ensuring that workers receive proper compensation. The authors of the manifesto also suggest that training centered on gaining marketable skills be provided for the long-term unemployed so that they can re-enter the labor market with confidence in their skills and in their protection under new labor laws.

While permanent reforms to address the causes and effects of poverty in Spain remain pending, members of the SAIC and labor reform activists continue to lay the foundation for a more stable Spain.

Daniela N. Sarabia
Photo: Flickr

Town Installs Outdoor Refrigerator to Feed the Hungry in Spain
There are 795 million people worldwide who do not have the resources available to them in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. That means that one in nine people in the world do not have enough food and often live in hunger.

UNICEF estimates that 20 percent of the children in Spain are living below the poverty line and hunger is becoming a more relevant problem in the country. In 2013, Spain distributed breakfast and snacks for 50,000 kids at risk of exclusion.

Seventeen percent of Spanish children are obese and living below the poverty line and do not have access to fresh food, fruit or vegetables.

Unemployment has been climbing since the 2008 financial crisis and Spain was one of the hardest-hit countries. People who once held regular jobs are out of unemployment benefits and are turning to squatting and collecting food from the garbage outside of stores.

In Galdakao, Spain, people are putting leftovers in a fridge on the street in order to feed the hungry.

The city has a population of 30,000 and created a communal refrigerator to help eradicate hunger in their town. After Alvaro Saiz, who ran a food bank in Galdakao, saw starving people digging through trash outside of stores and restaurants he decided there was a better way to not waste unused food through a new organization called Solidarity Fridge.

People in homes, people on the streets, and restaurant owners now take their unused food and put it in the communal fridge for the people who need it most to eat.

The project cost $5,500 and they had to change the law to prevent any legal action against the city if someone got sick. However, no raw meat or eggs are allowed in the fridge and anything in the refrigerator after four days must be thrown out. Solidarity Fridge says no food remains more than a few hours before it is taken by someone who is hungry.

Solidarity Fridge has become a learning experience for children as well. Schools organize field trips to visit the fridge and teach children about sharing and not wasting food.

One-third of food produced is wasted or lost every year, which is 1.3 billion tons. The entire net production of food in sub-Saharan Africa is 230 million tons. Solidarity Fridge may be a future model for other cities around the world wanting to feed the hungry while cutting down on wasting food.

Donald Gering

Sources: Good News Network, New York Times, Revolting Europe, UNEP, WFP
Photo:  Flickr