A caring British expat has raised over 6,300 euros in her bid to ensure that every child at the Ciudad de los Niños Malaga children's home received a Christmas gift this year.
Johanna Grey, who has lived in Mijas for more than 20 years, came up with the idea after visiting the home earlier this month to give the 49 children currently residing there an advent calendar.
Johanna was given a tour of the home, and although she had "nothing but admiration" for the staff and the care offered to the children, she felt that she needed to "do all that was possible to show these children that there are many people thinking of them."
"A lovely lady called Lola took the time to show us around. She has worked at the centre for 30 years and told us about the children and how they have ended up there. They do an absolutely fantastic job at the home, but the children are lacking basic things, so I decided to try to help by organising a GoFundMe page, Johanna told SUR in English.
Johanna, along with the help of her friend Eva, began to rally support for the initiative, and, to their surprise, the GoFundMe page amassed more than 3,300 euros in two weeks.
However, Johanna was even more overwhelmed when she received a large donation that almost doubled the fund from a British pensioner who wished to remain anonymous.
"We were astonished by the generosity of people, especially considering that we are in the middle of a crisis. One person, who does not want to be named, very kindly gave us 3,000 euros. We thought that this was far too much, but the lady concerned said that one of the things she wanted to do before she died was to help a children's home," Johanna explained.
Johanna was advised by the staff at the home that she should buy each child the same present, so she decided to make 49 parcels containing essential clothing and toiletries, and a 40-euro gift voucher, which were delivered to the children on Christmas Eve.
However, the fund has more than 3,000 euros left over, so Johanna has decided to use this money to take the children on excursions next year. She also intends to set up a helpline, because she feels that the children need extra support and advice when they leave the home at the age of 18.
"It hurts me to think that these children do not have parents to look after them. I have decided to show them that there are people who do care and want to help," Johanna said.