The difficult economic situation in Cuba in the 90s led the Samuel Foundation to establish initial contacts with Cuban training institutions in 1997 and provide financial and advisory support. Close cooperation with Cuban training institutions was sought and achieved. The Foundation focused its support above all on meaningfully promoting the infrastructure as well as on the purchase of necessary machinery and other equipment. Through its experience and contacts, the Foundation was able to collect monetary donations and donations in kind in Central America and Germany, so that the training in Cuba got off to a good start. Especially due to the economic blockade of the USA it was difficult at that time to get the necessary equipment in Cuba.
When help is only possible with slowed down commitment
The project work in Cuba was quite difficult for the Foundation, since independent project work was not welcomed by the Cuban government. Despite these difficult conditions, three projects in Havana the capital city of Cuba, were able to be carried out in the period between 1997 and 2007 that provided prospects for young people.
Our three projects in Cuba
Escuela Provincial de Salvavidas Henry Dunant
First of all, the Foundation started its work in Cuba with the support of a rescue swimmer school in the years 1997 – 1998.
Politécnico Fernando Aguado y Rico
The Politécnico Fernando Aguado y Rico in the centre of Havana was supported by the Foundation as a training centre for craft trades and technical courses in the years 1998-2001. The Foundation focused on the renovation of the infrastructure of the training centre as well as the procurement of tools and machines for the workshop from donations. The training centre was also supported by the financing of a training workshop in the electrical engineering field. After the Ministry of Education of Cuba had re-dedicated this training centre as a computer centre, the Escuela de Oficios Hermanos Ameijeiras, also in the centre of Havana, was selected as a future funding project.
Escuela de Oficios Hermanos Ameijeiras
The most important criteria of the Foundation for this project was that in this training institution, only young people from the most vulnerable sectors should be trained in craft trades. Thus, the Foundation was able to promote its aims and visions from the outset. First, the training facility was supported by tools and machines, then the canteen was renovated, an important contribution to ensure the lunch of the young people.
After completing this work, the Foundation took care of the installation of a computer classroom. The Foundation was involved in the planning from the outset and was active as a consultant. A total of 10 new computers and a powerful server could be purchased with Foundation funds. In addition, the Foundation financed the necessary reconstruction measures in order to create the prerequisites for the new use. The room was completely renovated and equipped with new windows and doors as well as a new electrical installation. Particularly important was the air-conditioning of the room, in order to protect the sensitive electronic devices from heat and dust. In this environment, the young people could be brought into contact with the important IT subject and made ready for the labour market of the future.