Response Updates

The Borderland: Convoy of Hope’s Work in Melilla, Spain

Europe Reported by Convoy of Hope

Though it’s technically on Spanish soil, the walls and moats around the city of Melilla make it feel far from being “Spanish”. Melilla is positioned right at the tip of northern Morocco, with the Mediterranean Sea separating it from the Spanish mainland. The borders around the city characterise and define it, emphasising isolation.

Here, unemployment is more than 30% and the city is a magnet for traders that cross from Morocco into Melilla each day, hoping to earn a living for themselves and their families. Basic rights are not guaranteed, and Melilla is the Spanish city with the highest rate of unaccompanied foreign children — 441 children at the end of 2021. 

For 16 years, Convoy of Hope has joined partners on the ground in Melilla to offer a glimmer of hope. In addition to a monthly food parcel distribution, Convoy hosts a free-of-charge event once a year to benefit the entire community. Along the main square on the morning of the event, a crowd gathers in anticipation. One by one, they get their tickets and go from station to station, picking out needed clothing and receiving haircuts, food parcels, hygiene packages, medical attention, a hot nutritious meal, and more. The people can enjoy live music while they take their time exploring what’s available, and volunteers entertain the children with songs and games. 

This year alone, 80 volunteers came from all over the Spanish peninsula to distribute the goods and care for the residents. In a place where there is little hope, this annual community event offers the people of Melilla the chance to feel less isolated, to be treated as Guests of Honour, and to have their needs met.

The statistics are real. The borders are present. But there is hope. The hardships are unimaginable. Large-scale change may seem impossible. But there is hope. Step by step and one haircut at a time, each person in Melilla is able to feel less like a statistic enclosed in the borderland and more like a face with a name, a face with a story — and that story has hope because of Convoy of Hope.

Convoy of Hope



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