14ymedio, Madrid, 10 November 2022 — In an effort to attract residents to an area suffering from population loss, the autonomous regional government of Castille and Leon announced on Tuesday the Reto Zamora program. It will provide Cuban families whose ancestors emigrated from Zamora , a province located in the country’s northeast, the opportunity to resettle there.
With a budget of 500,000 euros, the project will offer contracts and Spanish residency to fifteen to twenty families — descendants of Zamorans who emigrated to Cuba, Mexico or Argentina — who agree to work in the province as caregivers.
“All of them will receive the training necessary to work as personal caregivers. Once here, they will also be able eligible for further training to work in institutional settings,” said Isabel Blanco, a counselor at Family and Equal Opportunities.
The families will receive economic support for the first three months of their residency. They will receive help securing housing, with guidance from the local and regional governments. The costs of travel to Spain and to the province – an hour and a half by high-speed train from Madrid, or three hours by bus – are also covered by the program.
In return, participants must commit to living there and work as caregivers. In essence, the applicants will be part of another project, Network Care, that has been operating for months. It seeks to offer individualized care to the elderly, the dependent, disabled or chronically ill in group and private homes.
Blanco explained that that 25% of those hired to work as caregivers in rural communities are immigrants, so the integration of both plans updates the strategy while bringing international attention to the Spanish province, which has been in a demographic crisis since the 1960s.
Maria Antonia Rabanillo — president of the Council of Spanish Residents in Cuba, the Association of Castilian and Leonese Societies, and the Zamoran Colony of Cuba — explained during a visit to Zamora that there are some 2,000 inhabitants on the island with roots in the province.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, 9,712 of the 183,676 Castilians and Leonese living abroad reside in Cuba.
Zamora, 255 kilometers from the capital, is the province with the highest median age, fifty-one years, in the country. With only fifteen inhabitants per square kilometer, many in villages with less than 100 inhabitants, it is also one of the areas with the lowest population density.
Among its advantages, however, is the cost of living, with home prices being the cheapest in the country. It also has important natural attractions, such as the Sierra de la Culebra, known as one of the “lungs of Spain,” and Lake Sanabria, originally Europe’s largest glacier.
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