APRIL 24-MAY 6TH, 2019
Guantanamo Daycare Centers
Thanks again for all your support. Your gracious donations are certainly making a difference in the lives and living conditions of our brothers and sisters in Cuba.
Yesterday’s email reviewed our visit to Holguin. Today I will review our next stop on our visit. We traveled about 4 hours further Southeast to the province of Guantanamo where we stayed in Guantanamo city.
A little over a year ago, sister Yadira, who had been in touch with Bishop Armando Rusindo was excited about what she had learned about the Moravian church and their dedication to the children of the church and decided to serve the community by setting up a day care center. She started by converting most of her home to create a day care center for children under 3 years old. She named it as you can see in the picture below Hogar Infantil “Los Moravitos” (Children’s Home of the Moravians).
The home can handle 16 children max and is set up with 16 cots, refrigerator, Christian Ed materials, games, TV, toys, and a bathroom. Her plan was to charge between 150 to 200 Pesos per month based on the family’s financial capacity. That would roughly convert to $6-$8 USD per month.
Since opening in January of 2018 her home has always been full. She uses the net profit of her daycare to go into the community and support those less fortunate. She focuses on the homeless, alcoholic’s and families dealing with drug problems. They often wash the clothes of those she is serving with her community outreach.
This ministry has now expanded to 2 additional homes, each serving 16 children. Those homes are also full with 16 children in each. One of the homes houses, ages 3 and under and the other ages 3-5. Currently serving 48 children, they are looking to add a 4th day care house that would support an additional 16 children.
A staff of 8 people are now employed at the 3 homes. Each member of the staff has backgrounds in childhood education and child psychology. One of the leaders in fact teaches child development at the Univ of Guantanamo. Other leaders have experience in Children’s hospitals and prison ministry.
Besides teaching Christian education to the children, she also has a weekly meeting with the parents of the children as well as people in the community she is helping to study Moravian history and Bible study. She refers to her daycare enterprise as the Church.
This ministry also has 6 acres of land in Guantanamo where they plan to raise livestock and vegetables to provide food for the daycares as well as the community. They have one of their bible study participants and local farmer who will manage this enterprise.
The day care ministry has quickly become a huge outreach mission supporting not only the children at the centers but those at risk in the community. Not only are they a model for our church in missions to those less fortunate, the city of Guantanamo and the Mayor have issued a certificate in recognition of the work of the Moravian Church in city of Guantanamo.
We were clearly very impressed with this ministry in Guantanamo and are excited to know it is part of the Moravian church in Cuba. This model is already being set up to become a reality to deliver this same ministry at the Comenius Center in Havana with Sister Yadira consulting at the church in Havana.
As you can imagine the needs for this ministry are many. While we met with Yadira and her staff, we picked up a laundry list of needs that ARMF will begin to address.
- 3 Microwave Oven’s for the day cares to be able to warm the children’s food. (Cannot find Microwaves in Cuba)
- Floor Fans
- Small stoves
- Children’s bibles in Spanish