PROVINCIA DE TERUEL – The small village of Griegos (Teruel) with 143 inhabitants has received a flood of applications. This follows an offer of two jobs and a hefty housing benefit to a family with small children who would like to settle permanently in the town.
The municipality of Griegos proudly states on its website as being the second highest village in Spain. It has a height of 1,604 metres. Despite this, the village is faced with the difficult challenge of keeping the school open in the coming years. Therefore, the municipality is offering two permanent jobs in the local catering industry and three months of free housing. From then on, the chosen family with young children only has to pay €225 in rent per month. Furthermore, another €50 per child will be deducted.
School must remain open in Griegos
The goal is to go from the current 9 students to a minimum of 12. This is necessary to maintain the only classroom there is and thus ensure that the school continues to function. The response to living in the village is impressive. Interest in this offer has been overwhelming with over 3,000 families applying. Furthermore, it is not just Spaniards but includes foreigners too. Therefore, now it’s up to the Townhall to choose the winners. People will have to adapt to life outside in a mountainous environment.
Life in the small town nestled in the Sierra de Albarracín changes drastically as soon as winter arrives. It is very cold and the gutters are regularly decorated with icicles.
Deputy mayor, Ernesto Agustí, who will make the selection, warns of the major challenges future residents of Griegos will face. The cold, loneliness, and work demands. However, the new residents can work in a restaurant in the village and in the municipal hostel.
Griegos offer gone viral
The promotional video, which shows two girls talking about the lack of students at school, quickly went viral in Spain and far beyond thanks to social media. The video features a poster with the tagline “looking for kids” and offers an “almost free home” with “work for the parents.”
The long-awaited candidates will be notified
Silvana Finardi, a 37-year-old psychologist, and her husband Diego Bizanz, a 42-year-old nursery manager, are one of the hundreds of foreign couples ready for a change of scenery. Their four children, their work experience, and their dedication make this Argentine couple ideal candidates, according to the deputy mayor. The family left their homeland a year ago to live in Gandía, Valencia, but when they saw the campaign on Facebook, they knew they had to respond: “We want our children to grow up in nature, not locked in an apartment, spending their time in front of a screen.”
The Argentines will compete against Álvaro Tomé and Alejandra Bandi, 32, among others. These two Madrilenians feel ready to exchange their city house for the two-room apartments with thick stone walls next to the school. The young couple has three minor children. Tomé has been working at a bank for 12 years and suffers from stress: “I get up at five in the morning and come back at ten at night, I have no family life,” he says. His wife, an advertising specialist, is also on the brink: “We live to work.”
Safer rural environment
The couple wants their children to grow up in a quieter and safer rural environment: “We do it for them so that they can enjoy themselves, away from the stress of the city,” say Bandi and Tomé, who claim to defend “the common good”. and want to manage the hostel to attract tourism. In addition, they have the ambition to develop an haute cuisine training project for entrepreneurs in Griegos: “Young people just need initiatives that allow them to move to the countryside.”
Working from home
Working from home has made it easier for those who are tired of living in the city. Computer scientist Antonio Sancho, 31, left Valencia when the pandemic broke out and settled in Griegos, his grandmother’s village, where he spent the summer. Sancho advises anyone interested to think about it calmly because, he assures, you have to love village life and the winters are very harsh. Griegos is even known as the coldest village in Spain. The ideal summer weather here lasts only a few months.