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The Fundación Secretariado Gitano is launching the Emergency Social Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas (#WithRomaFamilies) to tackle the situation of vulnerability now affecting thousands of families. [editar]

The crisis we are going through has left thousands of Roma families in a situation of social emergency due to a lack of food and basic necessities.


The Fundación Secretariado Gitano is launching the Emergency Social Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas (#WithRomaFamilies) to tackle the situation of vulnerability now affecting thousands of families.

At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we have launched the Social Emergency Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas to respond urgently to the situation of extreme vulnerability now affecting thousands of Roma families due to the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown.

Latest news about the Emergency Social Fund

On this page, we will issue alerts regarding the most important news about this Emergency Fund, thus complying with one of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano Principles or Rules of action: the principle of transparency.

  • During the first week of the Fund operation, we have been able to attend to the urgent needs of more than 700 FAMILIES in 14 Autonomous Communities.

  • We would like to thank numerous companies for their contributions, including CaixaBank-Fundación La Caixa, Fundación Endesa, Fundación United Way, Forlplan Gestión, Servicios Informáticos de Formación, HOAC Murcia, Carrefour, Musgrave España, Trinexo Comunicación, Instituto Cefa, Grupo CLN and Fundación Pertusa.

Emergency Social Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas

The current public health crisis caused by COVID-19 has in turn caused a social and economic crisis which has aggravated the situation of the most vulnerable, including that of thousands of Roma families.

Before this crisis erupted, the social situation of many Roma people in Spain was already a precarious one, and had not yet recovered from the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis. According to a study we published in 2019, 86% of the Roma population lives below the poverty threshold, while 46% of households are in extreme poverty and the child poverty rate stands at 89% (with extreme child poverty at 51%).

The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on thousands of Roma families in a situation of vulnerability: results of a survey of 11,000 Roma people

This crisis has further exacerbated the situation of vulnerability already affecting thousands of Roma people.

To better understand the circumstances of the families we work with, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano carried out a telephone survery of 11,000 people in the week of 30 March to 3 April. Among the main findings of the survey are a lack of food and other basic necessities, and the widening of the educational divide:

  • 379 families (more than 40% of those interviewed) are having serious difficulties in accessing food, basic sanitary products and other essentials.
  • 20% of boys and girls do not have access to the essential nourishment they previously received through the free school meals programme.
  • 13% do not have access either to medicine or to protection in the face of COVID-19.
  • 33% have serious problems paying for household utilities: gas, electricity etc.
  • 61% of families who are in need of urgent support from social services are not receiving it.
  • More than 40% of Roma students lack internet access, while only a third have a computer available to them.
  • 700 people cannot afford to pay the rent for their home.
  • 80% are unemployed, and of this group, 58% do not receive any kind of social welfare benefit or other payment.

For more in-depth information about the results of the survey, see this Report.

The situation is desperate for many Roma families, and more than one month into the lockdown (which is making it impossible for many families to earn an income), the emergency aid promised by the Government is not reaching all of those who need it most.

At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we propose to provide emergency aid while we await the arrival of the promised Minimum Living Income, drawing on as many public resources as possible (such as FEAD funds, redirected subsidies and direct aid) as well as providing, on a temporary basis, urgent financial help.

We have created the Emergency Social Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas

At the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we have launched the Emergency Social Fund #JuntoALasFamiliasGitanas as an exceptional measure to respond to the current social emergency, attending to the most urgent needs of thousands of Roma families.

These needs have been identified mainly in two areas: those related to food and other basic necessities, and those related to the educational divide, which is exacerbated by the digital divide caused by the lack of necessary equipment or of an internet connection in many households.

For this reason, donations to the Fund from private individuals, companies and organisations are being used to provide:

Money to pay for food and other essentials such as medicines or sanitary products for the families most in need of them.

Digital devices and internet connections

To make this possible, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano is making agreements with supermarkets to provide this help by means of cards which the families can use to buy food and other essentials. We are also channelling the equipment donated by companies to the families most severely affected by the digital divide.

How is the aid distributed?

Across 14 Autonomous Communities, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano’s teams are already in contact with thousands of these families, identifying their main needs and offering them immediate support as required.

The aid is distributed locally through the various offices of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano in Spain.

When aid is delivered, priority is given to the most vulnerable families; that is, to the households with the lowest incomes and with the greatest number of children in their care.

How is the Emergency Social Fund maintained?

The Fund represents an extraordinary response to an extraordinary situation, aimed at meeting basic needs which are not presently being met in the population we usually work with. The programmes and activities through which we normally work with them are usually more structural in nature and aimed at long-term advancement, but in the face of this crisis they have had to evolve to adapt to the new circumstances and needs.

The Fund relies on the donations we receive from private individuals, companies, organisations and institutions, and on the contributions of the staff of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano.

Closing the digital gap

This crisis is also affecting Roma children and for this reason, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano is working urgently on another line of action.

The suspension of classes means that students, no longer being able to attend centres of education in person, have to follow lessons from home using computers or other devices. Another of the great challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis is that of ensuring that no boy or girl finds themselves left behind because they lack the means to study.

Since 2009, when the Fundación launched the Promociona programme with the objective of ensuring that Roma students complete compulsory education and then carry on with further education, we have assisted around 1,400 students across Spain.

In the current circumstances, as corroborated by our telephone survey, we have observed that more than 40% of the girls and boys do not have access to the internet, while only one third have access to a computer. Our Educational Guidance teams are already in contact with these families to ensure it is possible for these girls and boys to continue their education.

In the hope of alleviating the current situation and providing IT resources to the students on our Promociona programme who need them, we are collaborating with various companies to manage donated IT equipment and/or means of internet access for those households which are most in need.

If your company is able to assist us by donating IT equipment or providing internet connection, please contact the Fundación at or on 91 422 09 60.