Support for Cuban schools

Support for Cuban schools

CSC director Rob Miller on the latest donations to the Viva La Educación appeal

I’d like to give a huge thank-you to all the individuals and groups who have donated to our Viva La Educación appeal since the last update in April. I’m delighted to announce that we have now raised more than £50,000 so far to send a shipment of educational materials to Cuban teachers and students next year.

Hurricane Ian (see page 8) has dealt a further devastating blow to Cuba, on top of the serious economic crisis the country was already facing due to the ongoing blockade and ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these hardships, Cuban teachers have continued to keep their schools open and to maintain their excellent educational achievements. However, shortages of basic materials and equipment are severe.

Thankfully there are many organisations that have been fundraising and organising awareness-raising events to support the appeal. In Brighton, supporters organised a special film showing with more than 50 in attendance. Local organiser Juan Baeza said: “The night was a great success by increasing awareness of Cuba and raising £422 for the Viva La Educación appeal.” Derby supporters held a ‘Curry for Cuba’ dinner and South London CSC hosted a fundraising Quiz Night.

Forthcoming events include a fundraising social with food, raffle and speakers in Manchester, fundraising concerts in Haringey and Merseyside, and a fringe meeting at TUC Congress focussing on the appeal.

In October half-term, a National Education Union delegation of 24 teachers will visit schools and colleges in Havana and Pinar del Río. They will meet with Cuban teachers and students to hear first-hand about the difficulties and shortages they face. All the delegates will be available to speak at meetings and events in support of Viva La Educación on their return, so please get in contact if you would like someone to speak at an event you are organising.

As we move into the last six months of fundraising, please do all you can to help. We can assist with information leaflets, publicity, speakers and advice as needed.

CSC has already agreed a collaboration with Computer Aid International to provide 300 refurbished high-grade computers for Cuban schools and we are exploring other bulk supplies including urgent basic stationery. The plan is to fill one or hopefully two 40-foot containers to be shipped to Cuba in the spring.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have access to large quantities of educational materials, or relations with suppliers who may be able to help. A full list of needs is provided on the campaign website at

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far
We have now raised more than £50,000 in donations including over £11,000 from NEU Districts including Barking & Dagenham, Bolton, Buckinghamshire, Cambridge, City of Preston, Croydon, East Riding, Hillingdon, Medway, Norfolk, Northern Region, North Yorkshire, Rochdale, Rotherham, Somerset, Southampton, Tameside, Vale of Glamorgan, Walsall, Waltham Forest, West Sussex, Wigan.

Thanks also to all the organisations for your great donations including: ASLEF Brighton, ASLEF Bristol, ASLEF Exeter, ASLEF Faversham, ASLEF Gateshead & Newcastle, ASLEF Leeds, ASLEF Longsight, ASLEF National, ASLEF Retired Members Section, ASLEF Salisbury, ASLEF Sheffield Midland 185, ASLEF Waterloo Nine Elms, Christchurch Redruth, Coop Party Harlow, Coventry TUC, CWU National, CWU UTAW, FBU National, National Assembly of Women, NUM, RMT National, TSSA National, Unite Cardiff and Vale, Unite Dartford and Kent, Unite LE/128, Unite Metal and Foundry, Unite NE/GEO/12, Unite SE/6217 Surrey and Sussex RTC and Unite SE/6235 – plus CSC local groups in Birmingham, Brighton, Cymru Cuba (South Wales), Oxford and Sheffield.

A huge thanks to all the individuals who have also already donated and thanks in advance to everyone in the process of collecting and making donations.

Educate article, October 22