Expatica news

ONCE celebrates 65th anniversary

8 December 2003

MADRID – ONCE, the national lottery which has become a Spanish institution, celebrated its 65th anniversary this week.

The lottery was set up in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, partly as a charitable organisation to give jobs to the blind or disabled.

Throughout Spain there are some 23,000 sales agents who work from ONCE’s distinctive kiosks.

The lottery has raised EUR 160 million to pay for social schemes for the blind or disabled.

ONCE, which stands for the National Organisation of the Blind, is made up of 47,300 people – 60 percent of whom are disabled. The organisation has also created other companies, providing at at least 50,000 other jobs in the past eleven years – 90 percent of which are for the disabled.

It is overseen by the government, through a body called the Council of Protection. Three per cent of the takings from the lottery go to social projects to help the blind and those with visual problems. It also arranges holidays and social activities for members of ONCE.

ONCE aims to intergrate blind people into the world of business through its own corporation.

Some areas of business where it has created jobs have included tourism, property, insurance, physiotherapy and services for old people.

They also help fund research on machines and other technical help to allow blind people to lead more independent lives.

These include new canes for blind people, adapted mobile telephones, watches and electronic games.

[copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news