Covid-19 in Seville: Sharing Is Our Strength and We Want to Help
With the new mandatory confinement measures, families involved with ATD Fourth World in Seville, Spain have lost their normal livelihoods. They know that in very poor neighbourhoods around the country many more families — “too many” they say — are in the same situation.
As members of the ATD movement and of the Three Thousand Ideas Association1, these Seville families are appealing for support during the Covid-19 pandemic. Emphasizing their willingness to share amongst themselves, they have suggested the solutions below.
Appeal for solidarity
We are greatly concerned that our situation is not being taken seriously during the Coronavirus crisis. We feel that we have no choice but to appeal to all individuals, families, and institutions to listen and to help us. Where we live there is a critical need for food and medication. It is especially urgent for basic assistance to reach the families who need it most.
We therefore ask that all applications for the minimum income2, even temporary ones, that have been waiting for months be processed and automatically accepted.
We see people who have very little sharing what they do possess with others who have even less than they do. They are helping elderly people, those with disabilities, and people living in truly desperate situations.
We want other people to know about this; it is our own contribution to surviving the health crisis.
To all citizens
We want to unite our efforts with what other people are doing to bring an end to the pandemic, and so we are asking for help.
Our strength lies in sharing what we have with our neighbours. We need access to food and medication to survive, but also so we can make our own contribution to fighting against the coronavirus.
We are aware of the significant effort everyone has been making to save lives. However, we are confined to our homes with no way to earn a living and no savings. In requiring these confinement measures, people should not forget about those in poverty. Because we live in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Spain, we know that our neighbours will share what they receive with others. Therefore, we can best guarantee that assistance reaches those who are most in need of it.
We are already sharing what little we have with those who have less. However, with only the minimum income, we will have to double our efforts.
Because we are concerned that support may not reach everyone, we believe that working with neighbours is the best way to ensure a fair distribution of assistance.
To the public administration
We appeal to all public institutions from the Seville City Council to the Spanish Government. It is our hope that they will not only send food and supplies to us — efficiently, quickly and regularly — but that they will also call on us for our collaboration and know-how.
We would like to remind them that there are many people whose applications for the minimum income have been waiting for months now. Some applications have been waiting for more than a year. These applications should be granted, even if only temporarily. In addition, while the health crisis continues, this is not the time to take the minimum income benefit away from people who already receive it.
Please give priority to people who have no resources so that they can have access to their medications without a co-payment. This is vital.
Today you are in direct contact with the administrative offices. We ask that you raise awareness about the reality we are experiencing, and that you be spokespersons for our proposals and suggested solutions. Do not let degrading images of us circulate, condemning and slandering us. You are well aware of our lives and needs. We ask that you remember us during these times when you cannot carry out your usual activities and projects, and when you are not receiving funding for them.
Now is the time to activate your networks so that we receive the basics. You can count on us to share any assistance that we do receive.
We also implore you to keep us informed about our rights so that we have up-to-date information on decisions that affect our neighbourhoods. We ask to be included in helping to make these decisions. Because we get little news we feel severe anxiety and helplessness, and this increases tensions in our homes.
To everyone who wants to help
Like us, you have children, parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents and you can imagine where despair might lead, when hunger strikes in the home. Every day, we try not to think about the worst-case scenario. We are confined yet also feel completely abandoned.
We are in need of resources and other measures to ensure that people are not forgotten in this crisis. Any support will be welcome. Please make a commitment to help us.
An appeal supported by associations in Seville:
Three Thousand Ideas Association
René Cassin Pro Bono Advocacy Committee
Quarantine in the Three Thousand (Cuarentena en las Tres Mil)
The Three Thousand: due to the quarantine, street vendors have nothing to eat (Las Tres Mil, al límite por la cuarentena: los vendedores ambulantes no tienen para comer)
The virus of extreme poverty: Government admits not protecting almost 50,000 people from Covid-19 (El virus de la extrema pobreza: el Gobierno admite la desprotección de casi 50000 personas ante el Covid-19)