Friday, 8 November 2013

New Project - Xacobiños - Young Pilgrims Programme

Xacobiños - The pilgrims of the future
Young Pilgrims Programme

We will remember them
In the Christian tradition the month of November is when we particularly remember those who have died.  On 11 November, Armistice Day, we honour all of those who have died in war. We salute them.

Death is an integral part of life and pilgrims are no exception. Each year pilgrims die on the Camino, mostly through natural causes, others in accidents. On 24 July 79 people were killed in a train crash whilst travelling to celebrate the Feast of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. They were pilgrims too.

Whilst there are personal memorials, there is no roll of honour for fallen pilgrims and so I offer as a lasting memorial this new project which will encourage the next generation of pilgrims by introducing children and young people to the pilgrimage. The programme will be launched in January and it is dedicated to all pilgrims who have died.

The first year of the programme is being run as a pilot and we will share the approach and the results openly so that it may be replicated in other countries.

The first year of the programme is being supported mainly by private donations. If you wish to contribute there is further information on how to do this later in this article.

Xacobiños - The pilgrims of the future

The Young Pilgrims Programme is a multi-lingual programme for children and young people between the ages of 10 and 12. It is aimed at teaching them more about the history of Saint James and the city and Cathedral of Santiago. It will introduce them to the pilgrimage to Santiago with a view to encouraging them to be pilgrims in later life.
The programme will encourage schools to organise day trips to Santiago. These excursions will include:
·        An introduction to the pilgrimage to Santiago
·        Education in the history of Saint James
·        A walking “pilgrimage” along the last stage of the Camino Francés through the medieval city
·        A guided tour of the Cathedral
·        Attendance at the Pilgrims’ Mass
·        Presentation of a “Junior Compostela”
·        The option of an overnight stay in an albergue

The programme will be offered in Castellano, English and Gallego with components of these languages included appropriate to the age and needs of the children. This will be decided in conjunctions with the schools and parents.

Strategy and timetable

We will devise the detail of the programme, develop educational materials from the wealth of resources already in existence and develop materials to market the programme to schools in Galicia and beyond.
Autumn 2013: further develop materials, write to schools, visit target schools with presentation, schedule bookings. Liaise with schools as they advertise the excursion to parents, book transport etc.
April – June 2014 – school visits take place.
It is proposed that the project is run on a pilot basis for one year and then evaluated.


This is a simple project aimed at promoting the Camino to Santiago to schoolchildren. It will educate and stimulate their interest in the Camino and the history of the town and Cathedral.
It will be run within the Pilgrims’ Office in the same way as the Amigos Welcome Service is hosted.

As well as professional management the core team who will deliver the project also contains a qualified and experienced teacher and an educational adviser.

The finances of the programme will be administered by the Fundación Catedral de Santiago de Compostela (CIF: 670.178.603)

Accountability will be to the Dean of the Cathedral with regular reporting to funders. 


There needs to be a dedicated Spanish person who has the skills to develop relationships with schools and teachers and adapt and create educational materials. That person also needs the organisation skills to schedule and deliver the project including acting as a guide to visiting school groups.

Over the course of one year this is estimated at approximately 24 – 30 hours of work per week. Therefore a budget of 16,000 – 20,000€ is sought with the project being initially deliverable at the lesser amount. Obtaining the full budget of 20,000€ would allow the development of more marketing and educational materials.

Some 12000€ has already been pledged and more donations are being invited.

How to donate

You may send your donation to:

Fundación Catedral de Santiago
Banco Santander
Rúa Caldeirería, 54-56, 15703, Santiago de Compostela
Nº de C.C: 0049 2584 99 2414189182
IBAN: ES79 0049 2584 99 2414189182

Please reference your donation: Xacobiños Donation.

Or if you prefer to use Paypal to avoid bank fees please e mail me:

All donations will be acknowledged and a receipt issued by the Fundación. Donors will be sent a progress report as well as financial accounts at the end of the first year.

Thank you


  1. Hi John, What a cool project! Wouldn't I just love to be the liason person (alas, I am not Spanish!). I am hoping to bring a small group of students on the Camino next summer - our students are required to do a "senior project' before they graduate. Something profound, significant, life-changing...the Camino would certainly fit the bill. The hardest part will be their spiritual/mental preparation! If you have a mailing list for this project, I'd love to be on it!