Portugal’s Austerity Policies Driving Families Into Poverty

Juliana is 23 years old. She is unemployed and seven months pregnant.
She lives with her husband, also unemployed, and with their two children in a borrowed house. Their greatest concern is not having money for food.

 

Photographer Lara Jacinto is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From her project ‘Inner North‘.  To see Lara’s projects click on any photograph.

 

Nelson, 94 years old, saw eight of his nine sons leaving the village to look for better opportunities. In Trás-os-Montes the population aging rate is very high.

 

 

The inner north of Portugal has been forgotten and neglected for a long time and is currently one of the poorest regions of the country.

 

Sandra has four children. The subsistence of the six-person household requires Sandra and her husband to make extreme daily efforts. In case of long term unemployment, their greatest worry is getting food and medication for their youngest daughter.

 

Its landscape is marked by the abandonment of the lands, villages and factories, ruins which evoke memories of better times, job opportunities, more people and children.

 

 

 

In Cachão, a small village located at Trás-os-Montes, there is silence and monotony. The agro industrial complex, created in 60th, employed hundreds of people. Since 1974 the project has been increasingly abandoned, and officially closed in 1992. The big industrial complex, which was the great strength behind the economy in Trás-os-Montes, is now reduced to ruins of imposing buildings and practically a ghost village.

 

Life here seems overshadowed by loneliness, apathy, emptiness, hopelessness and uncertainty regarding the future.

When confronted with the difficulties of the hard rural life, most young people dream about leaving the region and country. Those who stay, face the monotony and days that repeat themselves over and over again.

 

Bruna left school when she was sixteen, which prevented her to fulfill the dream of being a police woman. Today, she is 26 years old, and once more she is leaving Portugal for another work season in Switzerland.

 

Luisa, Bruna’s mother, cries after say goodbye of her daughter who left for abroad

 

 

 

Portugal crosses one of the toughest moments since the end of the dictatorship in 1974. The austerity policies, adopted by the Portuguese government, drove many families into poverty, mortgaging the country’s future.

 

 

 

See also:

The color of your hair faded

By Lara Jacinto

 

 

 

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