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Today there is a potato omelette and, eight months ago, when there was little left before the state of alarm and confinement began, there was a door with a door that led to the meeting between
(Moroccan, 18) and
Both lived in flats provided by a Madrid foundation that makes it easier for the terrifying leap from being an unaccompanied migrant minor, - tutored by the Spanish administration - to being of legal age "with one hand in front and the other behind" does not turn into trag
On one side an apartment for girls, on the other one for boys and a love story that takes flight in the middle of a pandemic. Anna and Mehdi ignored it until this newspaper tells them that the
just passed a motion that talks about them.
Last week, the socialist spokesperson for Migrations,
, who for 25 years worked as an immigration lawyer, celebrated
the approval of a motion to withdraw the term mena
- "cold and that does not reflect the reality behind" - of Spanish legislation and replace it with "unaccompanied children and adolescents." A request that Unicef and the Ombudsman also made some time ago, after what happened in the summer 2019 in shelters for minors such as the one in
they were mixed with the complaints of the workers of the center, always full.
According to data from the Socialist spokesperson in the Senate, "there are approximately 12,500 minors in foster care" in our country. After Mehdi and Anna's story of youthful love, almost in their twenties, there are several reception centers and circumstances that are not normally found in early ages.
Experiences behind a woman who today studies to be a stewardess in the
School of Aeronautics
of Sáenz de Baranda thanks to a scholarship granted to him during confinement by the
Dream Awake Foundation
That, in the morning.
In the afternoon, she is a cashier in a supermarket in the center of Madrid, from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Her boyfriend is also a professional colleague, since Mehdi could be defined as an itinerant fruit seller in a fruit shop owned by compatriots in a town in the south of Madrid.
It starts around 08:30 in the morning in one, then restocks in another, go if they also call you from a third there.
They share a room near where he works
, in an apartment where several other people live.
When night falls and Anna begins her return home -which makes her reach the level of curfew-
Mehdi prepares the potato omelette or the tajine or the macaroni and tomato
or whatever I play that day.
There is no lack of fruit in this house and neither is there a cooking hand because since Mehdi arrived in Spain in 2017, he has taken several courses in hospitality, and others as a waiter.
Above all, he loves to cook.
, your natal city.
When he was 16 he decided to give it a try
"Because there is nothing there, and for us less"
It refers to a jaded youth in a
Between the past and the present.
Trying, for these unaccompanied children and adolescents, means trying to get here.
The first time he was unlucky, but the second time.
He says that the journey was not so hard but that he had to sit on the engine, whose heat still bears marks.
Behind her, holding on to each other, "an African woman with two small children whom I ended up hugging to get a better grip," she explains. There is another thing she does not forget and that is that, as soon as she stepped on Spanish soil, a person from the Red Cross She put a blanket over him while saying: "Don't worry, you're in Spain."
Between that and now there are three years of reception centers, first one in the south, then a transfer to Madrid, then Hortaleza, then a place where, according to what he says, he felt better: the Chamberí reception center, in the center of the capital.
Anna's story has other nuances: she arrived with her mother at the age of two from
and, at 14, in an already larger but somewhat unstructured family, he went to live in reception centers.
The first one she lived in was also Hortaleza's, like her boyfriend.
"Then they referred me to Nuevo Futuro, which has reception flats and when I turned 18 they gave me another flat in Orcasitas." Orcasitas, then, was a place of loving encounter between two nationalities and two cultures in a third host country.
In the end, in any house in this country omelette is eaten.
Spanish omelette that Anna and Mehdi share as they share everything.
When Mehdi lost her place in the apartment where she lived, earlier this summer - there was a confined and complicated Ramadan in that home - Anna decided to leave hers and give the place to someone else.
Together, he considered, it was the way they could both move forward.
There was, of course, to work, and Mehdi luckily found her place in the greengrocers quickly, and studying encourages her.
They imagine a future in which they can continue to grow and they are together in their own home.
Working makes him so happy that when you ask him, Mehdi, what do you imagine in a few years, what would you like to see?
he dedicates himself to repeating it: «Nothing, just that, work.
"Help us," she points out, who not only has a better command of Spanish than he does, but his Spanish is perfect because, after all, he arrived in Spain when he was two years old.
He is so good at languages that he speaks five: Ukrainian, Russian, English, French and Spanish.
That's why she wants to be a stewardess.
The night this newspaper meets them, Anna arrives after 11 with a bag and, inside, some trinkets.
She changes for the photo, because she is still wearing the supermarket uniform and does not want to go out with work clothes.They settle into the nest, the omelette has just come out of the fire, Mehdi makes those cuts that she learned a long time ago, with Moroccan style, of course , so that both eat from the same plate.
In truth, there were four forks on that plate because they intended to invite.
In fact, they invited.
Do you usually have dinner together in the room?
"It depends," says Anna, "sometimes in the kitchen."
Love, youth and small spaces end up being learning for anyone.
Like everyone else, they also watch a series together, even if they are somewhat tired.
Getting up early here is imperative, as is wearing the mask outside. From the Soñar Despierto Foundation,
Veronica Ruiz Mendez
, coordinator of the Study Scholarships, knows about Anna's general situation, as well as her academic situation.
"She is with a boy she met when she lived in a first-rate apartment," she says, "we have given her a scholarship because she seemed like a super good girl, she told us that she wanted to be a stewardess since she was little because she speaks many languages, I think there are five, Ukrainian , English, French, Spanish and Russian, if I am not mistaken ... "When Anna is asked about her classes, she says that" in school very well, although there are many subjects ".
The coordinator of the foundation says other things: "She is very happy at the moment and so are we, and she doesn't just study, in the afternoons she works at a Carrefour," she says.
That I study and work is for this type of foundation a sign that the person behind the scholarship, the person behind the story, the person they called mena is making an effort. The director of Soñar Despierto,
, details that "they finance studies of those who are 17 and are in reception centers", so that when they are 18 they continue studying.
«In addition to the funding, Anna has a mentor, a volunteer who is aware of how she is doing with the exams or if she is overwhelmed, as any parent or guardian does in a house where there are young people who study, even if they have turned 18, until she finish your studies and be truly autonomous. ”They have also awarded scholarships to what were formerly known as menas, not just the best in each center.
«The first was a girl from
who arrived alone in Spain and today is a Renfe stewardess.
These guys must be decriminalized, not only because they get ahead, but also because some of them are great students.
There is much good, but the
Federation of Entities with Assisted Projects and Apartments
(FEPA), which brings together 68 organizations from all over Spain, launched the campaign last week
#A dead end
, which denounces "the situation of great vulnerability in which unaccompanied foreign minors remain once they reach the age of majority."
They ask for changes in articles 196, 197 and 198 of the Regulations of the Immigration Law so that foreign minors protected by the Public Administrations reach the age of majority with a work and residence permit, and denounce that bureaucratic obstacles leave the
former ward youth
in a dead end, without future opportunities and condemned to precariousness. «The minister
He said that in this legislature there will be changes in the Immigration Law.
Withdrawing the term is part of this process of change ", concludes Doniela Roldán.
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