FCG International Award for Lifetime Achievement 2004: Jaime Garralda S.J.

 “For his absolute dedication throughout his lifetime, 83 years, to numerous disadvantaged and socially-excluded groups in Spain and Central America. He has created and promoted initiatives and programs to support the penitentiary population, minors, AIDS patients and drug addicts. Through the Open Horizons Association, during the last 23 years, and more recently the Padre Garralda Foundation, he has worked to improve the living conditions of the men and women in prisons and especially their children, using his slogan “Not one child in prison”. He has always searched to ease the difficult living conditions in the prisons and to normalize and integrate this group into the society for a life in freedom. The award looks to sensitize and support the joint initiatives dedicated to improving the social conditions of the people at risk of social-exclusion, especially for women and children ”.

According to the jury that met in Valladolid on July 23, 2004, chaired by, Mr. Julio Fermoso García, President of Caja Duero; and made up by the following members; Ambassador Mr. Inocencio Arias Llamas, former representative of the Spain’s permanent mission in the United Nations, Mr. Manuel Lombao Lombao, Director of the Area of the Territorial Centers of TVE; Ms. Teresa Sanjurjo González, Director of the Spanish Association of Foundations; Mr. Enrique Ybarra Ybarra, President of the Vocento Foundation

«Children can not be in prison, children have to see trees, cows, live with other children, the prisoners are people, they deserve full respect, the prisons are a social problem for everyone»

 

Jaime Garralda S.J. - Biography

He was born in 1921.

Between 1937 and 1939 he was took refuge with his family in the French Embassy.

In 1945 entered the novitiate of the Compañía de Jesús.

From the start, he felt a special attraction for the marginalized groups.

 

1953-1957        As a student of theology in Granada, he dedicated his efforts to the gypsies in Albolote, Atarfe and Pinos Puente.

 

1957-1964        When he finished his studies, his first destination was the "Hogar del Empleado", a refugee program. Residences were built (7 with 600 rooms), and they carried out activities including sports and professional education classes, which were practically unknown in those times. Cooperative stores (7 total), basic education and secondary schools in the developments (where more than 5,000 homes were built) were also part of the program; as well as a residence for tuberculosis, etc.

 

1964-1966       Father Garralda, was sent to Central America with his base in Panama where, recognizing his work, the President of the Republic granted him the highest national honor, the Orden Amador Guerrero en Grado de Comendador.

 

1966-1981       He returned to Spain and lived during many years with drug addicts and people that had recently left the prisons to support them in their social integration process.

 

1978-2002       During this period, he learned about the prisons first-hand, and he spent many hours in their patios. This inspired him to organize a Non-Profit Organization, Open Horizons, where he has relentlessly dedicated his time during the past 23 years to be at the service of the prisoners.

 

This contact with the necessities of the prisoners motivated him to open houses to help those prisoners that left prison. They have already received thousands of boarders. They are also open to those prisoners that are free but without resources

 

He has created Dependent Units that depend on a large prison which is responsible making sure that the prison obeys the law, by sending a civil servant to the prisons every evening. Yet, the “life at home” depends on Open Horizons.

 

Father Garralda has paid special attention to the children that live in the prisons. Volunteers visit them to organize parties, birthday parties, carnivals, Nativity scenes at Christmas and Three Kings Day parties. During the weekends, they take the children out of the prisons to play and, at times, they leave with their mothers and in summer they organize vacations for all of the children in all of the prisons of Spain with their mothers and the volunteers of Open Horizons without guards or vigilance; a group in Soria and another in the beach of Algeciras. He has organized a three story house that takes in a dozen mothers with their children, where the mothers finish their prison sentence, preparing them for life in freedom. The children adapt in the day-care centers in the neighbourhood.

Recently, the Father Garralda Foundation was created, with the slogan “Not one child in prison.

 

Medal of Penitentiary Merit

White Cross of the National Drug Plan

Cross of the Order of the Social Solidarity

"Vértice" Award from the mayors from the North of Madrid

Independiente Foundation Award

Caja de ahorros de Valencia Award

Messengers of Peace Award