Lent Appeal: Cuba

Our Orthodox Catholic mission in Cuba is currently in desperate need of funds to continue the SCHOOL FOR POOR CHILDREN Santa María de las Vegas Nuevas it provides every Saturday. 

Context

In Cuba, approximately 10% of the population lives below the poverty-line. However, even poor Cubans still have access to basic services such as healthcare, education, clean water etc. The lingering economic crisis, emigration, and teachers’ meager salaries though have led to a critical shortage of educators in primary and secondary schools throughout Cuba, with schools severely understaffed. Private remedial instruction is on the rise, as are private schools that teach English and other supplemental skills. Some children, in accordance with family custom, must work. In rural areas, children have to help their families with farm work or housework, so it’s more difficult for rural children to pay as much attention to their studies throughout the day and into the night. This has can have a negative impact, be it physical or psychological, on the lives and mentality of children.

The Santa María de las Vegas Nuevas Saturday School for kids is located in Camino de Vegas Nuevas on the outskirts of Santa Clara. The volunteer staff strive to provide a free supplementary education for children from a variety of impoverished homes both from the shanty town on the city outskirts and the poor from the surrounding countryside. The children are the sons and daughters of cheap prostitutes, peddlers, excavators (those who rummage in the municipal garbage dump to recycle raw materials), smugglers and agricultural workers without farms (poorly paid) who are forced to alternate their jobs with skullduggery and economically criminal activities e.g. the Black Market and worse. 

With high priority given in the State schools to literacy and numeracy there is nothing in the limited budget left for extracurricular activities nor arts or creative projects. The Saturday School provides a place where poorer kids can be assisted with their education, have an alternative activity than slave-work and a safe place to play and be creative, free to express themselves, their hopes and their dreams.

Please help…

Padre Felix and some of the children explain the significance of the school…

The Primus of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey has chosen the Saturday School project for our Communion’s Lent Appeal. The monthly rent of the school building is $40 CUC(USD) per month or approximately £30 GBP, we’d like to raise a year’s rent this Lent, approximately £360 almost $500 and perhaps a little more to contribute to materials and resources for the activities.

Please prayerfully consider contributing to this worthwhile cause, perhaps donating a month’s rent for the school building? The United States commercial, economic, and financial embargo placed on Cuba means the collection is being collated through The Brighton Oratory and donations can be marked “Saturday School Cuba” from the drop down menu…

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