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“Today, thanks to HI, I can follow my dreams”


Fabián, 19, is an entrepreneur. He is benefiting from the livelihoods project run by HI in Santiago de Cuba.

Fabián and his mother stand in front of their confectionery kit donated by HI in Santiago de Cuba.

Fabián and his mother stand in front of their confectionery kit donated by HI in Santiago de Cuba. | © Productora Myagenes / HI

“My name is Fabián David de la Cruz Carlés, I am 19 years old. At the age of 12, I fell ill with Guillain-Barré syndrome. This caused temporary paralysis in my legs and arms and left me with weakness in my muscles. It was only thanks to the unconditional support of my younger brother and my mother that I was able to cope.”

A passion for dessert

It all started when a social worker and a member of my organization of persons with disabilities visited me at home. They came to tell me that a series of training courses were going to be organised for people with disabilities with the support of HI. One of the courses was on confectionery. Confectionery is exactly what I like to do! Ever since I was little, I’ve been helping my mother to make sweets for our family.

Fabián David de la Cruz CarlésThe social worker asked me questions about our family and about our household’s economic situation. When she suggested that I enrol in the confectionery course, I immediately said yes. I’m old enough to work and I want to help my mother. She is a single mother and she has already done a lot for us. Now it’s my turn to contribute to the household income and support her.

One of the biggest advantages of the project is the training we were given. We are really well trained in the activity we chose. My mum and I took courses to learn how to make sweet dough, cakes, meringues, etc.

A marvellous opportunity

I never imagined that at my age I would be starting my own business. Now it’s possible with the equipment I received through HI. To help me set up my business, the organization gave me an oven, a meringue-making machine, electric hotplates, a mixer and a fridge in excellent condition.

I am very grateful, because this is a wonderful opportunity for me. Today, I feel like a new person. I think this is the most important step in my rehabilitation journey. Through my work, I will be able to boost my family's income and improve our standard of living. I hope that the opportunity I’ve been given will also be offered to other people with disabilities, so that they can start their own business too.

Where your



Fatou Thiam


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