Ana Luisa Lopes Paiva Alvo, 31, Lisbon Portugal

I work in local government on maps and other geographical information systems. I have 2 children a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old girl.

For the last two or three years our financial situation has got worse and worse. In 2011 the Christmas benefit we receive from work was cut by a half and last year in 2012 it was cut again. Holiday benefit has been cut as well.

We are Euro 400 worse off.

At the same time VAT has risen from 6 – 23%.

We don’t go out to restaurants. We can’t take the children to the cinema.

At the supermarket I check the prices of everything I need to buy – we don’t buy branded products anymore. With a family of four, half of our expenses are on food.
We have look to cut back on anything that is absolutely necessary – from cable tv to shopping for clothes.

The government have chosen a policy, but it is not a good solution to the economic crisis. The rich are getting richer and there is no middle class. People have lost belief in the government. Immigration is sky rocketing, I know so many people who are thinking of leaving.

At work there is no career ladder to rise up any more, we’re just holding on to our jobs. There is no investment in training.

Young people can’t jobs when they finish their education. I see more kids on the street, they beg outside the supermarket and some areas have more crime.

The IMF should go away, they haven’t improved our situation in Portugal. They have made things worse, what is sad is that we have lost our belief in our country. People just want to leave.

What we need is to earn enough money to buy our own products. We shouldn’t rely on imports.

I dreamt of having three children – but no we will have only two. I have friends who can’t afford to have any children, so I suppose I’m lucky.

We’ve had to rent our house and move our whole family in with my parents.
Who wants to be a mother if you can’t afford to give your children a good life.