By Laura Kemp • 27 July 2021 • 12:38
Spanish man uses his garage as a language school for migrants. Image - YouTube
As authorities on the Canary Island’s are trying to accommodate the rise in undocumented migrant arrivals, a local man has turned his garage into a classroom to teach Spanish for free.
From January to mid-July 7,260 people made the dangerous journey to arrive on the Spanish shores, compared to 2,800 last year. Authorities are attributing this rise to the impact of the health crises in the north and sub-Saharan Africa that is forcing many more to search for a better life in Europe.
This inspired Tito Marin, a man who lives in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to set up a makeshift language school after he noticed there were not enough resources to help the growing number of migrant arrivals.
“I thought it was time to stop just agreeing with news and commentary about the (migrant) situation and decided to take action,” he said.
Amongst his van, Bikes and surfboard, Marin set up desks in his garage where young men write down the Spanish alphabet and sound out the letters.
“I want to learn Spanish. Before I lived in Senegal, I had never been to school, I didn’t know how to read,” said Mar Low, 25, who arrived on the Canary Islands eight months ago and attends Martins free Spanish lessons three times a week.
Low spent two weeks at sea, five of which without food or water, before his boat was picked up by a Spanish rescue ship, “If they hadn’t helped us we would all have died for sure,” he said.
A local French and English teacher heard of Marin’s initiative and offered to help, she is now part of a group of volunteers who teach Spanish.
“I’m a conscious person, aware of what’s going on around me and the reality is that… my island is suffering right now, I care about it,” she said.
Marin offers a safe space for migrants to learn Spanish, have something to eat and even have a shower, according to Reuters.
“What I have had first and foremost from the boys is gratitude, in spite of their desperate situation,” he said.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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