“When you work for children, you work for the future of many people”
For two years now, the journalist and writer, Charo Izquierdo, has been directing the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid, the leading event for the promotion of Spanish fashion organized by IFEMA. She combines these duties with being on Save the Children’s board of trustees. In this organization, with a presence in over 120 countries, the protagonists are the children living in conditions of inequality and poverty. This fashion and lifestyle expert devotes as much of her time as possible in an attempt to help change their future. Its prime objective is to improve their education.
TEXT: NURIA DEL OLMO. @NURIADELOLMO74 PHOTOS: SAVE THE CHILDREN
What is your daily routine like in Save the Children?
I’ve always had a vocation for service, which means that, for me, this is truly important work. It has enabled me to get involved from the beginning, placing my know-how and experience at the service of the people who need it most and are experiencing the greatest injustices. At the most difficult times, with the greatest workload, I always think of the children and this encourages me immediately to find time where there is none. Children need support, people they know they can rely on.
What goals do you pursue?
First and foremost, we provide comprehensive care for children and their families, so that the economic situation or social exclusion in which they live does not prevent them from fully enjoying their rights and being able to reach their full potential. In addition, a major part of our efforts are focused on trying to influence the political agenda and decision-making processes, with the aim of achieving major changes and improvements in the lives of these people.
«We are working to break the cycle, that intergenerational transmission of poverty»
What results have you achieved in this time?
The fact is that we are very proud of the work we do. In all these years, we have cared for more than 5,000 children through programs we have carried out in different communities. We do our utmost so that they and their families can break the cycle, that intergenerational transmission of poverty, through education, and we strive to do away with all forms of violence. When you work for children, you work for the future of many people.
Which projects have particularly caught your attention?
I recently experienced the reality of the refugees firsthand. I traveled to Jordan last year. It made a huge impact on me. In our daily work with these people, we witness a great many inequalities. What most struck us was the fact that refugee children are five times less likely to attend school than other kids, which means that millions of children are currently not being schooled. It’s so unfair! But we hope that this will change.
What other objectives are on your agenda for this year?
In Madrid, I’d underscore the Puerto Rubio project, in the municipality of Vallecas. We opened it in April and it will undoubtedly be the seed for a new way of working with children – from a very young age right up to 18 years old – and with their families, a key factor for achieving changes related to education, immigration and violence.
What challenges must be met to tackle academic failure?
An educational system that treats each pupil according to their social, economic or physical needs, so that they can all have the same chance of success. We also call for more investment and scholarships, guaranteed education for the most vulnerable children and topclass second chances for those wishing to resume their education. In Spain, the main route for those returning to education is a dead end, given that it offers no path to further studies. Moreover, it offers very poor results and the second chance schools are not officially recognized within the education system.