Senegalese Refugee Scoops €400,000 Windfall in Spanish Lottery

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What is Christmas if not a time for peace, goodwill and a smattering of miracles? And this news story of a Senegalese refugee scooping a €400,000 prize encompasses all three of these festive traditions.

Ngagne, a refugee from Senegal who travelled to Europe from Morocco by boat in 2007, scooped the prize in Spain’s annual Christmas lottery. His winnings of €400,000 (£294,000/$436,000) will undoubtedly completely change his life. He told one Spanish newspaper that he and his wife often did not have €5 to see them through the day – and now they’ve got 80,000x that amount!

It’s fair to say he was a little gobsmacked by the news of his winnings. I mean, just look at his shocked little face!

El Gordo lottery winner
Source: EPA

It could hardly have come at a better time for Ngagne. He’s recently lost his job as a vegetable picker in greenhouses, and so this windfall will definitely make all the difference this Christmas.  And it’s heartwarming to see that Ngagne, who now lives on Spain’s south coast in Roquetas de Mar, is not one to forget his past. He told the La Voz de Almeria newspaper: “I want to give thanks to Spaniards and the Spanish government for rescuing me when I was in the sea.” What a sweetie.

The El Gordo Lottery

The El Gordo lottery isn’t your typical lottery. In fact, it’s definitely something that we would love to see introduced over in the UK (please?). Rather than one big winner, the winnings are distributed among thousands of people. So, instead of one person winning a ridiculous €640m (£470m), the prize was shared amongst 1,600 people, all in Roquetas de Mar. It’s basically Santa Claus but for adults. Which makes far more sense when you consider it. Why give one person more money than they could ever possibly spend in a lifetime, when you can help thousands of people with it?

El Gordo lottery
Source: theguardian.com

To make things even better, amongst the other 1,599 jackpot winners included a Moroccan 18-year-old named Imanes Naamane, who moved to Spain from Morocco when she was just four. She told La Voz de Almeria that the money will be life-changing for her. She said: “We were in real trouble before.”

Naamane was one of the El Gordo winners
Source: Reuters | Naamane helds up her winning number

Is your heart feeling sufficiently warmed by the outcome of the El Gordo lottery? You might also like some of our other articles, including 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Lotteries and These Hipsters of Ghana Are So Much Cooler Than All Of Us