NL editie / World edition

Rop Zoutberg

Rop ZoutbergRop Zoutberg has been living and working in Madrid, as a journalist and photographer since 1996. Before moving to Spain he worked as a photo editor and media reporter for the daily newspaper Trouw in Amsterdam.

"The extremes of the news can often be found in Spain. The highest unemployment figures, Europe's largest slum, the loudest country. Media feed on such news items and as a correspondent I go along with them. Stories that confirm the prejudices the public has about a country are usually successful.

But I'm fascinated by people who do things simply because they think it's what they have to do. A Dutch woman cares for old and cast-off donkeys in the North of Spain. The donkeys are housed in three stables and spend their retirement years grazing in a valley. Her neighbours don't understand her. I also know a couple in Melilla, who shelter Moroccan orphans. They wash their clothes and make sure they go to school.

These people are unselfish. They don't earn a cent doing what they do, and it creates extra problems for them. But that doesn't bother them and they put all their energy into the donkeys, the street kids or the hopeless unemployed who have lost everything.

My story about Pedro Nchama is a tribute to such people. I took my four-year-old son along when I did the interview, hoping he will understand that there's more to life than SpongeBob SquarePants."

Rop Zoutberg is working for: NOS / RNW / VRT

Pedro Nchama

Pedro Nchama

After a career in the Spanish army, Pedro Nchama decided to set up a food bank. Without any subsidy he established a service for immigrants that now has Spanish citizens lining up too.