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Poverty is tearing the middle class apart in the hell of the "New Poor"

By. Clemente Ferrer 


The horror that saddens us the most is the one closest to us. Alejandro Toledo, commercial director, sensed anxiety while walking through the city center.

“It was on a pedestrian street. I stumbled upon someone I knew that was walking out from a Caritas cafeteria. Many things roamed through my mind. I thought of my little girl who, like all of us, could be in danger of becoming part of the ‘new poor’.”

Alejandro Toledo, music director of Alejandro Sanz and Marta Sanchez, as well as of advertisements for various brands, decided that something had to be done. He set out to do what he does best: a music video that calls the attention upon a painful drama, that one of many middle class people that lurk close to poverty – explains coordinator of Caritas Javier Hernando.

The music producer discussed the upcoming blurry horizon with the one who lives with the burden of need. Hernando explained to him his labor with the needy. He said that between 2005 and 2007, Caritas Madrid had attended over 182,000 people of all ages and conditions, while between 2008 and 2010, about 322,000 people were attended. He also said that 2011 and 2012 will be detrimental years.

Alejandro Toledo made the video spot at no charge.  The protagonist was his own daughter. Why? He thinks that any of us can fall into extreme poverty. That “any” included his daughter, who recorded the spot when she was four years old. This affected him deeply as a parent. It was so personal for him, that he could not shoot the spot with another little girl. He needed to shoot it with his four year old daughter.

About 3,000 “new poor” arrived to Caritas Spain in 2010 – most of them families who went from lassitude to homelessness in the wake of endless unemployment caused by the economic crisis. Most of the cases seen were families, about 74%.

The Co-federal Network of Reception and Primary Care was also flooded by families. All of its dependents were unemployed.

They come to Caritas looking for economic help to meet their basic necessities of housing, food, access to employment and even of buying textbooks. Many young people have also gone back home: they have lost their jobs and their economic potential to afford a mortgage, or young couples who leave their kids to the care of their grandparents, since they have no money to pay for childcare.

The Co-federal Network takes care of the poverty situations of families that face social instability. In 2010, 7.7 million Euros were allocated to combat poverty. It was also established that the investment ratio of the GDP was to be raised in order to reach the European Union average, thus increasing 0.6 percentage points each year from 2010 until 2020.

At the National headquarters of Caritas, the Secretary General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has given a 5 million Euros donation as a gesture from the Church of Spain. (Translated by Gianna A. Sanchez Moretti)

Author and journalist Clemente Ferrer has led a distinguished career in Spain in the fields of publicity and press relations. He is currently President of the European Institute of Marketing.

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