MADRID, June 26 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Educo has warned that as the school year comes to an end for the children of the most vulnerable families, “the situation could worsen significantly and lead to malnutrition problems”.
“When school is over, those who attend the school canteen during the course, in many cases thanks to grants and aid, stop going and receive at least one complete and nutritious meal a day,” explained the organization’s Director General, Pilar Orenes .
Sometimes fathers and mothers work in the summer because they can then find a replacement job. “By not having money to sign them up for recreational activities or to pay someone to look after their children, children are left home alone, making it difficult for them to eat properly,” Orenes said.
Specifically, the expert adds that at the age of 12 and alone at home, it is “probable” that they will leave the plate of vegetables they have prepared and the child will eat something that they like better.
In Spain, one in three minors is at risk of poverty or exclusion, “and the number is not improving over the years”. “It is an unacceptable fact that we cannot remain indifferent to. We have thousands of children who are now suffering the consequences of their families’ economic difficulties and urgent action is needed now. We can’t talk about the future if we don’t focus on what’s happening in the present,” stressed the CEO of Educo.
The organization recalls that more than 370,000 children and young people do not eat meat, fish or chicken every other day and that 34.5% – more than 2.8 million children and young people – do not take at least one week’s holiday away from home each year to be able to enjoy.
EDUCO SUMMER DINING SCHOLARSHIPS
To alleviate this situation, Educo is launching its Summer Dining Scholarships program for the eighth consecutive year to ensure food, leisure and recreation for children in vulnerable situations.
The project is carried out in collaboration with 65 local social organizations from all over Spain, 10% more than last year. More than 4,000 children will participate in the program, up 14% from 2021, and the company plans to provide more than 100,000 meals.
“This year we have received more requests than in previous years and we will try to process all of them. This reflects the reality that families are experiencing, particularly the most vulnerable, who are already suffering the economic fallout from the pandemic and who have seen their situation worsened by the rise in prices in recent months due to the war in Ukraine.” said Orenes.
In addition to food security, the Educo program carries out leisure and learning activities to promote emotional education, resolve conflicts peacefully or use the internet safely, among other things. Some of the children who will take part in the summer camps and colonies have come to Spain from Ukraine.
For the general director of the association, the summer months are “a real challenge for all families, but especially for those with fewer financial means”. For this reason, he has insisted that it is important to focus on the most vulnerable children “because they are usually the ones who have the least access to summer activities”.
“At Educo we are working to support these children, but we cannot reach everyone. Administrations must take specific measures to support families and social institutions, such as B. an increase in financial and technical resources or the transfer of spaces to carry out activities “, urged Orenes, for whom the only way to eliminate the existing social inequalities “is that children have the same opportunities to play even in summer , interact and have learning”.
Since Educo launched the Summer Dining Scholarship program in 2014, the organization has awarded more than 30,000 scholarships and provided more than a million meals during the summer vacation.