Last week, blogger Carlos M. Duarte published a post on HufPost Spain about how his daughter, who despite having a master's degree and proficiency in four languages, couldn't find a job in the country and decided to leave Spain and try to build her future elsewhere. In a country where one in two people under 25 years old are unemployed, according to Eurostat, Duarte’s post resonated with readers and was shared widely, with more than 70,000 Facebook likes and 25,000 Facebook shares.
In the blog post, Duarte talks about how his daughter was unable to find a job paying more than 400 euros a month, an amount too small to survive on. And so Duarte's daughter, like many of her friends already have, chose to emigrate.
“It is extraordinarily frustrating for a father to watch his children leave -- but keeping them close is no longer an option, because it would mean trapping them in a situation with no future,” Duarte wrote.
Duarte's article is a moving and personal plea from a father who has watched his daughter depart, and it expresses the frustration of a citizen who sees the society he lives in as incapable of providing opportunities for the younger generation, who the media refer to as the "lost generation," a term Duarte considers unfair to today’s youth.
The story Duarte tells about his daughter has become increasingly common in Spain, as more people seek work beyond the country’s borders. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “Last year, more than half a million people left Spain for other countries, according to the country's National Statistics Institute, up from just over 400,000 in 2010—the first year since 1990 that Spain became a net exporter of people”
As HuffPost Spain blog editor Gloria Rodríguez-Pina explained in an email, Duarte’s post “equally touched parents, unemployed youths, young people that have migrated or are going to migrate, and even an older generation” which faces the prospect of not seeing their grandchildren grow up in Spain.
Many commenters on HuffPost, where the post received more than 300 comments, talked of being in the very situation Duarte described.
Commenter “angelruis” wrote:
“Thank you so much for this article. I am more or less in the same situation as your daughter, I recently graduated (first of my class) and my parents cannot afford to pay for a master’s degree. Scholarship options in Catalonia are nonexistent and life in Barcelona is too expensive. I moved to Edinburgh three weeks ago. I live right by the University of Edinburgh and each day I feel a hole inside of me when I see all these people who still have the opportunity to study. I envy them so much."
And commenter “nosigaselcaminodldealado” spoke to the difficulty faced by those who have emigrated.
“26 years old. Months in a foreign country in which I don’t speak the language. Alone and with just enough money. Every day the fear of being left without money. Broken illusion of being able to work in Spain where the sun would fill me with energy and joy. Good luck everyone.”
Parents reacted to the post as well, and shared in the plight Duarte described. Commenter “Ciudadana” wrote:
“My daughter emigrated as well, with a diploma and two languages, leaving behind not only her family, her land, her habits and her partner, but also an intense struggle to be able to work in her own country. She looked for jobs outside her field which would allow her to live without getting help from her parents. But this didn’t happen and she is now over there, alone, trying to survive with a job that doesn’t pay enough, but with the desire to speak the language better and find other solutions.”
You can read a translated version of Duarte’s post here.