In Cuba, HI is working to make society more inclusive of people with disabilities, with a focus on economic inclusion and disaster risk reduction, as the country is prone to hurricanes and earthquakes.
A show organised as part of the community-based rehabilitation project | © M. Burgaya / HI
Actions in process
In order to improve the economic inclusion of people with disabilities, HI assists people with disabilities in finding suitable employment, especially women and young people. To this end, the programme supports self-employment initiatives with the distribution of kits containing the tools needed to develop an economic activity. It also reinforces existing vocational training courses, in collaboration with public services and civil society organisations. The programme trains and raises awareness of disability issues among the various economic stakeholders, supports the development of new adapted activities and works to improve the working conditions and environment of people with disabilities. It accompanies these activities with advocacy work in collaboration with Cuban organisations of people with disabilities, so that their needs and rights are taken into account in public policies.
Cuba is prone to natural disasters, especially during the hurricane season, which runs from May to November each year. To help vulnerable populations prepare, HI works with local authorities and civil society actors on disaster risk reduction and developing resilience strategies. The programme supports local partners to develop their knowledge of risks and their preparedness and prevention capacities, ensuring that people with disabilities are taken into account in the responses provided.
Situation of the country
Cuba is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the 1990s, and the most vulnerable populations are the hardest hit.
The Republic of Cuba, the largest country in the Caribbean, developed as a socialist country in the wake of the revolution in 1959. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the country, whose economy had been strongly dependent on the USSR, entered a long period of economic difficulty that gradually resulted in a diversification of the national economy.
However, while many countries have recently revised their stance towards Cuba and promoted economic, cultural and political exchanges, the embargo imposed on the country by the United States continues to have a damaging effect not only on the island's ability to grow, but also on the lives of all Cubans. The Cuban economy has been hit hard by the tightening of the US embargo and the sanctions in place since 2018, as well as by the difficulties of its main ally in the region, Venezuela. Despite a limited human toll, the COVID-19 crisis has only worsened an already precarious situation by depriving the country of one of its main resources, tourism
Since 1 January 2021, the country has seen galloping inflation, increased difficulties for the population in obtaining essential items and, as a result, timid protests by civil society. Indeed, discontent among the population is growing. Amidst worsening economic conditions, more than 140,000 Cubans left the island between October 2021 and June 2022, the highest number in decades.
Number of HI staff members: 8
Date the programme opened: 1998