Creating optimism and providing healing in Madrid

The Spanish word “Tomillo” means “thyme” in the English language.

Fundación Tomillo selected the plant thyme to represent its organization because thyme is found commonly throughout Spain, with the characteristics of being “humble, resilient, and healing” — characteristics that describe the works of Fundación Tomillo perfectly.

This year marks the 30th anniversary for Fundación Tomillo. Like many great organizations, it began out of a small apartment of Javier Lantero in Madrid of September 1984. Javier, and his close friend Manolo, felt the need to do something with their lives involving a sense of humility. During the time of foundation, Spain was suffering from an economic crisis where the unemployment rate was reaching roughly 25%. Seeing the negative effects this was having on the community, Javier decided to focus the efforts of Fundación Tomillo around creating and finding jobs for people of dire vulnerability.

Throughout the years, Fundación Tomillo has broadened its scope to encourage personal development and social integration for the most vulnerable individuals through education, training, improving employability, strengthening networks, to name just a few. For example, Tomillo provides school support and remediation to assist at risk drop-out students, training and employment services to increase job placement and employability, and community development activities to create a stronger societal integration. According to Irene Lantero of Fundación Tomillo, “The focus of all activities in Tomillo is ‘The Person’; the way we do it is based on trust and personal empowerment. I think this is what we do best.”

Some specific statistics show the genuine, tangible impact that Fundación Tomillo is having for individuals young and old. In 2013, with the help of CAF America donors, Fundación Tomillo has accomplished the following:

One of the most successful projects of Fundación Tomillo’s includes the partnership with Microsoft to develop computer specialists to gain official certifications in Information Technologies and Communications. Fundación Tomillo recognized the rapid development of technology in the ’90s, and strategically altered its programs to provide qualified computer savvy individuals to the workforce. With students being underprivileged youths, the pass rates were 89%, and employment figures reaching 70%. This exceptional case study exemplifies young unemployed and underprivileged people rising above to make themselves employable and successful.

Despite the amazing strides Fundación Tomillo has made in the past years, it faces challenges that cannot be overlooked. One of the most important challenges is undoubtedly the sustainability of the organization. To ensure sustainability, Fundación Tomillo looks to increase funding from donors, which can be a struggle at times. Nevertheless, it is the mission of CAF America to ensure the sustained communication between private donors and Fundación Tomillo. When describing its relationship with CAF America, Fundación Tomillo declares, “It is one more seal of transparency and quality that turns out to be beneficial for all parties.”

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Photo provided by Fundación Tomillo.
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