La Tomatina, food fight with a gentle side

Valencia’s La Tomatina fiesta held in the town of Buñol is arguably one of Europe’s most popular and certainly wackier festivals. This year the town council have taken a more charitable approach to the annual tomato flinging jamboree.

The last Wednesday of August each year sees tens of thousands of tourists join the town’s 9,000 inhabitants throw tonnes of tomatoes at other, outside the wet outdoor music festival season in the UK it’s one of the world’s messiest events.

In 2012, 40,000 people crammed themselves into the town’s narrow streets, the local authority concerned about a potential health and safety disaster took the sensible decision to limit attendance to 20,000 ticket holders.

Derided by some for potentially lost tourist income, the town hall have  announced that profits from ticket sales this year will be donated to a social project helping women in India.

The Sahell association works with the charity organisation Lokpanchayat in India to maintain safe houses for women of the Dalit caste, the lowest social caste in India also known as the untouchables, these women are generally abandoned and mistreated.

Sahell plan to create a safe environment for the women and teach them the tools of economic independence, raising their self-esteem and advising them on defence techniques to use against the aggression they encounter.

An educational project and photography exhibition will run during the festival examining the exploitation of the Dalit women. 

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