Skip to main content
European Commission logo
European Website on Integration
11 March 2024

Spain: Support and self-empowerment for migrant mothers

Flag of Spain


The MadresUP project - funded by Spain's state research agency and coordinated by the Centre for Research and Community Action of the University of Seville (CESPYD) - works to empower vulnerable migrant women who endured human rights violations throughout their motherhood, both in their country of origin and in transit to Spain. Building on the mothers’ underlying resilience, the purpose of the project is to promote their self-empowerment and their capacity to drive change in their immediate reality, in so doing ameliorating their own psychological wellbeing. This document looks at the processes and successes of the project so far.  

The programme is built on solidarity networks and sorority ties between the three target groups: mothers who migrated to Spain from countries in Africa or Latin America, or who are from Gypsy communities. The project's objective is a primordial, prenatal process of integration for expecting mothers and their due babies, ensuring that they are born in a supportive and welcoming environment. According to coordinator of the project Virginia Paloma, the 20 women currently enrolled in the programme can access support groups tailored to their specific needs.

In order to create a safe environment for these women to express themselves, project coordinators alongside Red Cross volunteers from Sevilla have adopted the Photovoice methodology, which allows for the answering of questions through the sharing of images. This has contributed to a general strengthening of confidence and is regarded as proof that feeling accompanied throughout their journey is already a form of empowerment for participants.  

Interestingly, the coordinators note that despite in theory being a burden and an extra level of vulnerability, motherhood represents for these women their main motivation for 'moving forward'. This shared feeling is, among others things, the anchor for the community-based approach undertaken by the psychologists involved in the project, which promotes change at the societal - rather than individual - level. This collective approach promotes a feeling of common strength which leads to further empowerment.

All these preliminary elements will converge in the intervention programme that is being designed for the next, second stage of the project. According to the coordinator of the Centre for Research and Community Action of the University of Seville, the three pillars of this next stage will be: a 'mentoring among equals' approach (training from migrant women who have been in Spain longer working as mentors for newly arrived mothers), mutual support (encouraging dialogue groups such as those already established), and diversification of their social support network with indigenous mothers (in order to avoid isolation on arrival).

This publication is part of the PID2022-142648NB-I00 project, funded by MICIU/AEI/10.13039/501100011033/ and by ERDF/EU.

Resilient motherhood, empowered women
(12.02 MB - PDF)


Geographic area
Contributor type
Academics and experts
Original source
Posted by
Francesco Pasetti - CIDOB
Country Coordinator

Related content

More content