The Initial Situation

There already exist various government institutions in the Old City of Havana that support the work with disabled people. In recent years, this inclusion shaped valuable experiences. The project’s aim is to improve and professionalize the framework conditions of various institutions for inclusion as well as socio-cultural and educational measures, located in Havana’s old city. The Cuban staff is well trained. However, unfortunately there is a lack of foreign currency to implement this project.

Project Support

Rubén Martínez Villena” Library (reading hall for people with disabilities)

This library also offers a section for blind visitors (“Louis Braille”). This project also includes cultural activities for people with various disabilities.

Budget: EURO 20’000.-
– Furniture, hardware, Braille typewriters and printers including accessories for the support of blind people using the library.

School “Vietnam” for Special Needs
The school “Vietnam” for special needs is an educational centre dedicated to the care of children that obtain mental retardation and behavioral disorders regarding their teaching and learning processes. 25 teachers, including class teachers, specialists and teaching assistants, supervise a total of 56 children between the ages of 7 and 11.

The school not only focuses on teaching academic content, but also promotes the psychosocial integration of these children. The school intends to provide them with an appropriate environment for acquiring life experiences, since most of these children have difficult social family backgrounds. The school also organizes various activities to integrate the children into the environment. The school offers workshops for handicrafts (painting), a library, and a psychotherapy room, the latter being used as a safe space to relax from stressful situations and influences. In addition, there is also a kitchen and dining room.

Budget: EURO 35‘000.-
– Furniture, hardware and electronic equipment (TV, air conditioning, etc.), refrigerators, and pressure cookers, writing and painting utensils, toys.

Hairdressing School / Salon “Santo Ángel”
Since 2018, the “Santo Angel” training centre for hairdressers in the Old City of Havana has integrated young people with motor and mental disabilities into its courses. Our experience has shown, that affected adolescents were able to improve their ability to socialize as well as their motor and intellectual skills thanks to their participation in the program.  Hence, the adolescents are able to better coordinate their movements and to stay focused on their work. Teachers and family members reported to perceive the participating adolescents as happier, more enthusiastic and motivated.

Their participation in the hairdressing school positively affected their social rehabilitation outside their families.

Even two mothers of participating adolescents joined the school to take care of their disabled family members during the course. Due to the experiences they made with their own children within the hairdressing school, the two mothers have become important points of contact for other pupils and teachers.

One mother would also like to offer a manicure course for housewives, mainly with disabled children. This training should enable the mothers to finally carry out their work as manicurists from home, because their family circumstances (to take care of their own disabled children) do not allow for them to work away from home.

The apprentices also have the opportunity to work in the hairdressing salon “Santo Ángel”. There are a total of 10 employees (2 manicurists, 5 hairdressers, 1 administrator, a cleaning lady and a cashier). People with disabilities conduct 7 of those 10 jobs. There are a total of 10 employees (2 manicurists, 5 hairdressers, 1 administrator, a cleaning lady and a cashier). “Santo Ángel” is the only institution of its kind in Cuba.

Budget: EURO 45‘000.-
– Furniture, hardware and electronic devices (TV, air conditioning etc.), hairdressing equipment (hair dryer, scissors, comb etc.), sanitary goods (shampoo, cosmetics etc.).

Association for People with Disabilities in the Old City of Havana
The Association for People with Disabilities has its own facilities in the Old City of Havana.  Its top priority is to promote exchange between the various associations of disabled people, such as blinds, deaf, etc. and advising /supporting its members concerning topics, such as cultural activities, advice on living, and housing issues, etc. Furthermore, the Association for People with Disabilities aims at raising the public authorities’, private businesses’, and civil society’s awareness for inclusion.

Budget: EURO 15’000.-
– Furniture and electronic equipment

Project Objective

The improvement of inclusion of the 4613 people with disabilities living in the Old City of Havana constitutes this project’s number one objective. In specific, this project aims at taking care of people with disabilities through a comprehensive approach that takes the individual’s limitations and psychological, functional, and social changes into account.

To achieve this goal, we provide material support to the library “Rubén Martínez Villena”, the school “Vietnam” for special needs, the hairdressing school / salon “Santo Ángel”, and the Association of Disabled People in the Old Town of Havana in order to implement future activities. These activities aim at reintegrating people with disabilities into society, while increasing their self-esteem, improving their soft  skills, and providing psychological and emotional stability outside and inside these institutions.

Ongoing project


To maintain and improve the inclusion of the 4613 disabled people living in the old city of Havana.




Office of the City Historian of Havana
Mark Kuster, Camaquito project manager of Camaquito

Project BUDGET:

EURO 115’000.00

TargetEURO 10000EURO 115000