Immigrants hailing from countries poorer than Spain occupy a secondary position both in the employment and wealth structure as well as in terms of social status.
According to the United Nations, there were 5,947,106 immigrants in Spain in early 2018, 12.8% of population of Spain.
The majority of the migrants risk their lives to cross into Spain. They know what it is to sleep rough, on cold, damp floors, to go days with out food and water. To cradle sick relatives and friends in their arms and to often witness loved ones pass away. For some being so close to that fine line between life and death, freedom and oppression, triggers the need to help others. Just as they too have been helped.
Now, once a week, a group of around 30 foreigners distributes clothes and blankets to people sleeping rough in the Jerez de la Front area of Southern Spain. It’s the migrants way of saying thanks to a country that has offered them shelter.
One of the migrants Ilyas El Masdouri, 19, knows what it feels like to be cold. He escaped Morocco when he was still a minor by tucking himself under a truck and had to sleep rough, among cardboard boxed on the streets of Barcelona. Ilyas admit he knows what it’s like to be so cold that sleep does not come, despite the exhaustion in his bones. The 19-year-old from Tetouan now pushes a trolley, filled with blankets and clothes to be handed out, around a town in Jerez de la Friontera as he proudly admits: “I was like that, on the ground, and now I’m the one helping.”
Ilyas isn’t the only migrant helping homeless people on the streets of Spain.
Abdullah Abass distributes the blankets and clothes after he’s finished soccer training. He is scarcely 18. A year ago he was one of the Somali minors rescued by the Open Arms rescue ship off the coast of Libya and brought to shore in San Roque.
Bubaca Biaro, a 29-year-old Guinean who was also brought to shore in San Roque explains the motivation behind their initiative: “We need help, but we also like to help.”
As Euro Weekly News has been informed, the young men belong to the Dimbali Jerez Immigrant Support Network, a collective of 30 people made up of foreigners and Spaniards who first started operating in 2018 during the migration crisis in the province. Since then, the organization has even managed to set up an indoor soccer team of young African men.
The young men who show compassion to the homeless in Southern Spain and have themselves been homeless before, now have their own temporary accommodation.
“The only thing I want is to be able to work” one stated “in whatever I can to help my family, and in the meantime do whatever I can to help others too.”
More than 30 years have elapsed since the first Immigration Law was approved in Spain, in 1985, and more than 20 since immigration started to figure prominently in public debate and be perceived as a new social reality. In this period Spain has gone from being a culturally and ethnically homogeneous society to one in which immigrants hailing from dozens of different countries, with widely differing religions, languages and physical characteristics, account for almost 13% of the population