About this time every year people start asking me about charitable organisations in the south of Spain. Christmas is just around the corner and we all start to feel more generous. The question then is how to find a reputable cause. In fact there is a plethora of good organisations to give to in Andalucia, and they need our help year round, not just at Christmas. However, this could be the ideal time to make initial contact and start a long term relationship that will offer you the chance to give time as well as money. This week I’d like to introduce you to one very good cause in Andalucia that I discovered many years ago. Ciudad de los Niños is a private orphanage run by a Catholic Brotherhood called “Hermanos Obreros de María”. It’s mainly a boys home, but as it’s located on a large piece of property outside Málaga city, there is also a building that houses a few girls and babies – mainly siblings of boys who have been placed at the centre. Many people have pointed out to me that Ciudad de los Niños receives government subsidies and should not, therefore, be in great need. However, the subsidies only cover a bare minimum while state requirements are always increasing – at substantial cost. This is a friendly, down to earth centre staffed by devoted professionals. I’ll never forget the story of one teacher (who works at the on-site school) who told me he had been working at one of Málaga’s poshest schools. However, he didn’t feel satisfied. So, he left his higher paying job to take a very low-paid position at Ciudad de los Niños where he thrives on his work with underprivileged kids. I still remember a Christmas party at the centre where his students performed there favourite “villancicos” (Spanish Christmas carols). Most were genuinely off key, but did they every sing there little hearts out at the request of the teacher they loved so much. People often ask me what Ciudad de los Niños really needs. Well, there are always bills to pay. The Director, Brother Correa, grew up in one of the Ciudad de los Niños centres (in Granada) during the Spanish post war era and he remembers always feeling hungry. Therefore, he places special emphasis on serving plenty of good food. He would be thrilled if someone offered to pay the meat bill or the bread bill or to donate such delicacies as “jamón Serrano” or Christmas pastries for the season’s celebrations. Some people also collect dried and canned goods as well as toiletries this time of year to donate to the centre and thus take a strain off the budget. If you’d like to see the centre’s website, click here. One final note: while the centre is called an “orphanage” many children do have living parents who are unable to care for them at this time.