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The retirees who room with refugees


Like some retirees, César Heredero has flatmates. But they’re not his contemporaries – instead Heredero, 75, shares his Madrid home with two refugees. “The three of us are delighted,” he says.

After raising seven children and subsequently living in a mostly empty home, Heredero connected with an organisation which places asylum seekers looking for places to live with people who are willing to open their homes. He’s now sharing his space with refugees from Syria and Senegal.

“We’re like a family,” says Rabee Aitizeeny, who lives with Heredero. Originally from Syria, he is now studying Spanish every day and getting to know the local community of Pinto (even learning to cook an authentic Spanish paella). “César is like a father to me.”

Heredero agrees. “My routine before was very boring. Now it’s the normal liveliness of a house. And this is something I like.”

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