banner image showing hunger looming over Valencia, Spain

Key Indicators of Hunger
According to one of the surveys by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 21.8% of the Spanish households are below the poverty risk line (poverty risk line, also called as relative poverty and income poverty. This is the limit that is set at a level usually 40 – 70 % of the average income). This means, in Spain, 21.8% of the population earns less than 427€.

Many people complain that after they pay the mortgage, water, gas and electricity, there’s nearly nothing left for food. Hunger begins when low income affects your daily life. When more than 50% of the income is used paying for food, people are considered poor and when these poor people occupy much of the population, it becomes a significant issue.

Source: World, D. (20 de 10 de 2011). 21.8% Of Spaniards are below the threshold of risk of poverty. Recuperado el 26 de 3 de 2012, de The Delta World:

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What Does Hunger Mean in our Culture?
Spain is a land of plenty. The food that Spain is blessed with is varied and delicious. We have all the fish and seafood that we need from the Mediterranean Sea, as well as oranges, walnuts, almonds, olives, goat, sheep, beef, rabbit, chicken, cheeses, wines, and on and on. So we don´t have a problem with hungry people, right?

That is pretty much right. The terrible devastating hunger that afflicts many countries in Africa and Asia particularly is not seen here, although there have been times throughout the history of Spain where our people have been hungry. It is during wars that our people have suffered the most, and an earthquake in 2011 affected a small Southeast coastal region.

Currently, we are beginning to experience more poverty and hunger than we are accustomed to. It is because the unemployment is Spain is increasing in recent years. This year, unemployment for younger people (between the ages of 20 and 30) is over 40%. Unemployment for the general population is approximately 24%.

As the Spanish people have a culture that is very family-oriented, many people do not feel the full effects of this lack of employment because they simply rely on their extended families to provide a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. There are some people who do not have the luxury of a family who can take care of them when they are unemployed. There are some people that seem to always have been living on the street and they continue to suffer.

And when we look on the streets and see the people asking for help, it seems to be a growing problem.

(WorldDelta, 2011)

A Historical Perspective of Hunger in Spain

Great Famine
Plague and Famine
Poverty and Hunger
Reduction in Prosperity

Early 1300’s

XV Century
Late 1400’s

XVII century

XIX Century

XX Century

XXI Century
1990’s – present day

Europe (including Spain) suffered from the Great Famine, causing millions of deaths. The very wet and cold weather brought several years of poor harvests.
The discovery of America provided Spain with extra land with its resources and also gold.
Plague and famine.
The French occupation.
During the Spanish Civil War 200,000 people were starved to death. Dictator Francisco Franco eventually helped Spain regain its economic prosperity.

When Spain entered the European Union (UN), the purchasing power of Spain was reduced by approximately 1/3. The country needed to convert pesetas to Euros.
This was the formula 1 € for 100 pesetas, salaries equated to 1 € for 166,386 pesetas.

Roubis, C. (2012, 2 13). Spanish village goes back to peseta as euro crisis takes hold. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from Chris Roubis:

Snyder, D. (2002). Franco and the Spanish Civil War. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from Mr. Snyder's World:

White, M. (2012, 2). Secondary Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from Necrometrics:

Organizations that are Fighting Hunger in Spain

contributed by Nate D. from Valencia

Brainstorming What Our Essential Questions
Would Be
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Hunger Throughout the World
Although there are many people who suffer of hunger and poverty in Spain, there are many other countries being tormented by the same problems but in greater numbers. Spain is fully aware of this; and so, it largely contributes to many regions that are fighting against hunger.

Top Five Countries
With the Highest Hunger Rate
Democratic Republic of Congo








Hunger Relief Throughout the World
The Spanish government donated $395,000 which allowed the WFP agencies to continue providing humanitarian assistance to 8000 refuges in Ecuador (2007.03.13).

Spain donated 75 million euro to aid 20 million people in the Horn of Africa including Somalia, Kenya, Ethipia and Uganda via WFP (2009.11.19).

In 2010, Spain became one of the major donors to UN agencies, funds and programs in Timor-Leste to fight against hunger and malnutrition (2010.10.15). Her contribution exceeds $6.65 million.

Spain ranks number 10 as one of the major donors of WFP (from 2008 to 2012, all figures in US $).

contributed by Javier A., Ji Yea Shim)

Scott, S., & Riggs, N. J. (2011). Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from Top 5 of Anything:

United Nations. (2010, 10 15). Spain and the UN work together against hunger and malnutrition in Timor-Leste. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from UNMIT (United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste:

World Food Programme. (2012, 3 18). Contributions to WFP: Comparative Figures and Five-Year Aggregate Ranking. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from World Food Programme:

World Food Programme. (2009, 11 19). Spain Doubles Aid to WFP to Help Fight Hunger in Horn of Africa. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from World Food Programme:

World Food Programme. (2007, 3 13). Spanish contribution allows continued food assistance to Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Retrieved 3 26, 2012, from World Food Programme:

Our Solution:
Working With a Hunger Relief Organization in Our Community
El Macarron Solidario:
Actions to help the hungry people.

Manuel Díaz and Paula Antúnez, the two people who started El Macarron Solidario in Valencia, are conscious about the problem hunger in Spain. To give hope to the people on the streets, they serve more than a hundred dishes of macaronis every Sunday, walking around places where people who wait for food might stay.

The source of this idea came from the day they made a big paella (paella is a Valencian traditional food) which was at first only for their family. However, they decided to share the leftover paella with the people who wanted it. As they gave out the food and talked with the people, they understood how tough their lives were, and made up their minds to begin a volunteer program for them. When they go out on the streets, they never stop smiling; they ask people about their daily lives — they share their worries and thoughts, providing others with support.

Since this group is an NGO (Non-Government Organization), they rely on donations. Our school, American School of Valencia, participates with them, by gathering donations, such as money, cloth, and bottle lids (for an infected girl in Spain) by performing games and selling candies to students. Our school had started collaborating with the program this year, and many students participate in this project and have begun to recognize some of the “real life” in Spain.

(Elia Y., Ji Yea S.)

Díaz, M., & Antúnez, P. (2008-2012). Recuperado el 26 de 3 de 2012, de El Macarrón Solidario:

Content on this page contributed by Valencia Students:
Ji Yea S.
Nate D.