The ONCE Social Group, Fundación Juanfe, the university professor Abel Veiga and the singer Raphael were the winners of this year’s edition


After a year of absence due to the health crisis during which time the efforts of society as a whole were completely focused on the fight against the pandemic, the Fundación MAPFRE Social Awards returned on October 6 at an awards ceremony presided over by Her Majesty Queen Sofia. The Casino de Madrid was the setting for the event that recognizes people, organizations and projects whose work and dedication helps to achieve a fairer and more equitable society. The Fundación MAPFRE Social Awards are international in scope and are endowed with 120,000 euros (4 prizes of 30,000 euros each).

A life of service to others

One of our most renowned international artists, Rafael Martos, known as Raphael, received the José Manuel Martínez Martínez Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes those professionals who, in addition to devoting their professional careers to serving society, dedicate time and effort to supporting charitable causes. The judging panel unanimously decided to award this distinction to Raphael for his stature as a universal artist and tireless worker, together with his solidarity, family values and human dimension. An emotional Raphael gratefully accepted the award, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the start of his prolific and successful musical career.

A journey that has taken him all over the world and in which he has always found time for others. “Right from when I began my career, I always understood the importance of using my microphone not only to sing, but also to address issues that would lead us to dialogue and move us towards a more just world”, he said after receiving the award from Queen Sofia.

Raphael, who received a liver transplant in 2003 and knows first-hand what it is like to enjoy a second chance thanks to the generosity of a donor, has participated in various initiatives to promote organ donation. He is also known for his involvement in UNICEF campaigns to support child vaccination in the third world and his firm commitment to Father Angel’s Mensajeros de la Paz Association in its tireless defense of the homeless.

Sentinels of hope

Outreach this year went to one of the most beloved and deeply rooted organizations in Spanish society, the ONCE Social Group. Since it held the first lottery in support of the blind in 1939, this institution has been doing commendable work in the struggle for a fairer, more inclusive and egalitarian society, as well as defending the rights of blind people and those with other disabilities.

The panel particularly valued the unique integration, solidarity and provision of specialized services represented by the ONCE Social Group model, a benchmark for solidarity, integration and the elimination of barriers in Spain, Latin America and the European Union.

The award was received by Miguel Carballeda, president of the ONCE Social Group, who in his speech of thanks wanted to especially remember his “Sentinels of Hope”, those thousands of ONCE vendors who even throughout lockdown remained close to the people.

The president of the ONCE Social Group recalled how during the pandemic the organization had provided robust support for blind people in Spain as well as many others with disabilities, making more than 300,000 phone calls in just three months to reach out to all blind people, especially the 11,000 blind people over the age of 55 who live on their own.

A chance in life for teenage mothers

One in five Colombian mothers is an adolescent, making Colombia the third ranked country in Latin America in terms of the number of cases of early motherhood. Modelo 360°, a social development project from Fundación Juanfe that helps these young mothers, won the Award for the Best Project or Initiative thanks to its social impact.

The goal of the project is to provide these teenagers with the means to break the cycle of poverty surrounding so many of these pregnancies, and which prevents them from getting an and advancing in life. Through various initiatives, Modelo 360° helps these young mothers to enter the workforce, helping them to become emotionally and economically independent women and, in doing so, positively transforming the reality of their children, families and communities.

Catalina Escobar, creator of the 360° Model, shared the moving testimony of Daniela Martínez, one of the mothers participating in the program, and recalled that hers is a common story for many Colombian girls. “Teenage pregnancy is the greatest spiral of poverty in our country”, she warned.

Insurance and technology

Finally, the 10th Julio Castelo Matrán International Insurance Award went to the work Seguro y tecnología. El impacto de la digitalización en el contrato de seguro (Insurance and technology: the impact of digitalization on insurance contracts), by the professor of insurance law and commercial law at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid, Abel B. Veiga. The winning paper delves into the impact of technology and its short and medium-term prospects in the insurance sector, as well as the increasingly frequent and complex intersections between technology and law.