Abel Santamaria School for the Blind

In May 2010, the Music Fund for Cuba signed a cooperation agreement with the Abel Santamaría School for blind and visually impaired children in Havana that will strengthen the charity’s long-term support for the institution.

Lying on the outskirts of Havana, the school provides specialised care for 145 children; 47 blind children, 8 deaf and blind children and 90 children with a visual impairment aged between 4 and 14 years.

It aims to integrate the children into main stream schools as soon as the child is ready by means of an outreach project which continues to support children at their high schools. There are 64 teachers, including speech therapists and psychologists, and classroom assistants. Some of the teachers are also visually impaired.

The school, which occupies the site of an old army barracks, has several classrooms and they have just refurbished the nursery. The computer classroom includes specialist computers, Braille printers and specialist software purchased with funds raised by the Music Fund for Cuba’s Cycle Cuba Challenge. Sponsorship has also been used to purchase each child a speaking watch and calculator and provide educational and musical equipment in the Art and Music rooms.

The school was named after Abel Santamaría, one of the martyrs of the Cuban revolution who helped lead the attack on Moncada Barracks, Santiago de Cuba, on July 26, 1953. Captured during the attack, Abel was murdered in prison after being brutally tortured. He had his eyes gauged out by Batista’s henchmen. After the revolution, all schools and hospitals for visually impaired children were named after Abel Santamaría in his honour.

Cyclists from the Cuba Cycle Challenge have regualrly visited the Abel Santamaría school to deliver educational aid to the staff and students.

2015 School Visit

Riders on the Cycle Cuba Challenge 2015 were welcomed by staff and students at the Abel Santamaria School of Blind and Visually Impaired Children in November 2015. The school, which provides specialised care for 145 children aged from 4-14, is a long term partner of the Music Fund.

Music and dance play an important role in developing the children’s confidence and expression and this year requested that the sponsored cyclists raised funds for instruments including a new drum kit and bass guitar.

Mike Hedges was one of the cyclists who helped to raise over £3,000 for equipment: “Donating musical instruments is a small thing but you can immediately see just how welcome these donations are here.”

Email info@musicfundforcuba.org.uk to find out about the next Cycle Cuba Challenge.