Ali Meehan talks to the new Foreign Residents Councillor in Mijas, Aránzazu López Lillo
Aránzazu (Arancha) moved to Mijas in 1979. Her background is in tourism and she lived and worked at the end of her studies in Brighton, England. She went there to improve her English.
Of her time in Great Britain, Arancha said, “I adapted very quickly in Brighton. It is a very charming city, where you can meet people from very different places. I have very good memories of that stage of my life and I miss the time we spent in the parks having barbecues with my friends, speaking in different languages.”
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Whilst she enjoyed her time in Brighton, Arancha’s heart was always back in Mijas and she wanted to make a difference to her community. She got involved with politics after a personal experience and is delighted to now be a Concejala de Mijas, and responsible for the Foreigners Department.
“I believe that the administration of Mijas town hall and the people who form it, especially politicians, should be closer to people, and offer empathy. We should be people who are able to put ourselves in the situation of citizens and give solutions to their problems. When I met the team of Ciudadanos (C´s), I knew that it was time to work and put myself at the service of the Mijeños.”
“From the department we offer a very personal service and attention to foreigners from Mijas whatever your age. We organise many cultural activities so the foreigners can understand our customs, as well as offering gastronomic events, Spanish classes and many more activities.
We also organise meetings between volunteer groups and associations so they know each other and know the activities that Mijas town hall offer. Our events are always with the objective of facilitating your stay in Mijas.”
And Arancha is also responsible for the environment (medio ambiente), agriculture and farming, cattle raising, hunting and fishing – so she has a very full agenda. However, she commented that she is very happy with a lot of responsibility.
As part of the environmental support in Mijas, we talked about the plastic pollution of beaches. Arancha believes the most important thing is to raise awareness at an early age of the problem, about the importance of conserving and protecting our ecosystem.
She believes citizens should be made aware of the consequences of putting plastic into the sea. The environmental department is continuously making campaigns with information about good environmental habits and Mijas will carry out activities for children in the schools.
Her main goal from her new role over the next 4 years is for the administration to be close to all citizens and facilitate the information that the Mijeños need (including those who now call Mijas home).
As foreigners we can get more involved with the Spanish community by collaborating in the activities that the Council organise in all the town hall departments and of course by being in continuous contact with the Foreigners Department to convey our needs and concerns.