Juan and Teresa Chavarria, Los Angeles, California

Interview By Sasha Abramsky | Posted Sunday January 8, 2012

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Juan and Teresa Chavarria - poverty - Los Angeles, California

When he was a toddler, Juan’s parents sent him from Mexico to live with his uncle and aunt in Los Angeles. He claims that they never sent him to school; instead, at the age of seven he began helping local house painters. Now fifty three, he cannot read or write; nor, despite having lived in the United States almost all of his life, can he speak fluent English. his wife Teresa is also unable to read or write in English. In 2011, Juan had a stroke and his doctors told him he would never be able to work again. Here, the couple discuss the desperation of joblessness and absolute poverty. They have pawned or sold all of their possessions so as to be able to make their monthly payments on their trailer. They and their children survive on food stamps and charity. The family are currently fighting a legal battle to have Juan qualify for disability payments.

Tags: california, education, hunger, unemployment
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