In Cuba, since the late 90's we find social development projects in the most marginalized communities or in those with the worst living conditions, which sought to alleviate, through artistic-cultural activities, the precarious economic and social situation imposed by the Cuban Special Period at that time.
These initiatives involve the inhabitants of a community in the growth, improvement and beautification of the space where they live through collective projects.
These projects showed off the cuban wit and the resilience of its people, while creating new forms of artistic expression, linked to social transformation.
Currently, many of these community Cuban projects are committed to economic autonomy and are projected for the sake of cooperation and exchange at the national and international level.
The final objective of these sociocultural projects is to promote the well-being of the Cuban population and talent , for different tasks, actions in which different actors cooperate: the Cuban government , NGOs, religious institutions such as Caritas, embassies of various countries such as Spain, Norway or Great Britain, and people and companies that, personally and disinterestedly, make their funds available for collective improvement.
CubaUnique supports solidarity tourism in Cuba
Many travelers want to immerse themselves in the social reality of Cuba and want to get involved in community projects that allow them to live with its people and in some way contribute to helping them, what are commonly known as solidarity trips and travelers.
Through CubaUnique you can do your bit. As a travel agency specialized in organized trips to Cuba, we identify and highlight some of the many community projects that exist in Cuba, although some are more recognized than others, so that you can know how they work, how they benefit its inhabitants and so that, if you like, collaborate in them, visit them when you are in Cuba and have the awareness of that, with your help, you will be benefiting the Cuban people directly.
These projects not only work to beautify communities, but also to favor children's or school institutions, older adults, disabled people, children and young people without filial protection or with dysfunctional families.
From CubaUnique we manage small donations or aid material (school supplies, medicines, cleaning products, clothing or use equipment) that you want to give to the most vulnerable part of the Cuban people and we plan for you, if you wish, collaboration in community solidarity projects.
If you are a solidary traveler, from our CubaUnique agency we tell you simple ways so that you can directly help Cuban entrepreneurs or self-employed people and we even manage small donations or aid (school supplies, medicines, toiletries, clothing or use equipment) of our travelers to the most vulnerable part of the country and we plan for you, if you wish, collaboration in solidarity community projects. All the information here..
SOCIOCULTURAL COMMUNITY PROJECTS IN CUBA
Next, we give you a brief description of some very interesting sociocultural community projects for the impact they have achieved in improving the conditions of the inhabitants of their environment and in promoting the arts and culture .1
CALLEJÓN DE HAMEL: African roots and social integration
An essential place to appreciate the art exhibited in Havana is this alley in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood, in Centro Habana.
Full of murals and allegorical altars to myths and religion and created from recycled materials, here you can breathe tradition and culture. The African legacy is present, it beats in the walls, the ceilings, and in the entire work of Salvador González Escalona.
In the 90s, the artist took on the task of making visible, publicizing and removing the stigma that existed on African-based religions, by expressing their myths and knowledge system through art. Along with this large gallery, a space was also created to listen and dance a good rumba.
Currently, the alley has its own rumba group, which performs every Sunday, making that day of the week a family reunion like no other in all of Havana.
In the workshops that have been created for the children and young people of the community, they study the art of dancing and playing this rhythm, which is an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. They also learn about the Afro-Cuban religion as an indispensable basis of Cuban culture. These children also receive classes in English, painting and engraving in other workshops that have been opened in the alley itself, taught by volunteers from the community.
A project that takes into account everyone around it, that seeks to mutually grow and develop both art and a sense of community. The sale of the works that are created in the workshops, as well as the income from the bar inside the alley, help to maintain a fund to support this project.
2 ArteCorte: Papito and his alley of the hairdressers
In an alley of old Havana, known as “the alley of the hairdressers”, a beautiful and interesting community project is being developed: ArteCorte.
The sculpture of an open scissors welcomes to the Santo Ángel neighborhood all those visitors interested in learning about the rising and features of this project and who, incidentally, are willing to receive a haircut.
Its creator, Papito, as everyone knows Gilberto Valladares, decided in 1999 to open a barbering and hairdressing school alongside a bartender school. Young people disengaged from work could receive free classes in them, which gave them a purpose.
The Museum of Barbershop and Hairdressing in Cuba, which today is located in the alley, was inaugurated by Papito, and is the result of his research work and his effort to obtain ancient objects used for this profession.
Charming bars with sunflowers on the tables welcome passersby and locals; a small ceramic shop, a children's playground called Barbeparque and a local gallery complete this short and magical space that opens up as a colorful microcosm of trade, culture and community.
3 Fusterlandia, a colorful open-air urban project
From the early 90's, an artist called José Fuster set out to create a community project in Jaimanitas, a small fishing village on the outskirts of the city of Havana, which he named “the joy of living"..
This ambitious idea consisted of lining the family and social buildings with mosaics, created from colorful slabs. The initiative was led by Fuster, but it involved the efforts of the community's inhabitants, who today have an embellished neighborhood, visited and recognized by everyone in Cuba and outside the island.
Fuster has also worked on an impressive open-air gallery, in which more mosaics loaded with symbolism and allusions of Cubanness can be seen. With the donations of the visitors and the sale of the paintings and ceramics (original by Fuster) that are exhibited there, this community continues to grow, develop and fill with colors.
As a part of a tour on a vintage american car you cannot miss a visit to this Cuban spot that reflects Gaudí's style with a lot of Creoleism.
4 Colón cultural, building artistic bridges from the community
This young project celebrates 5 years of its foundation in 2021. He has brought a powerful sense of belonging and pride to the place it represents: the Colón neighborhood, in Centro Habana.
Thanks to this, a real cultural exchange has been generated. Many local artists have been able to develop their musical and artistic careers outside of Cuba. At the same time, Colón Cultural has brought numerous foreign artists to the neighborhood. This has made possible a dialogue between his talents and creative desires with the Cuban reality.
This initiative also focuses on generating community growth projects, working jointly with local authorities. A gallery in which the results of the work of local and foreign artists are exhibited. It also functions as a concert hall, being this one of the most interesting spaces in the project.
Talks, guided tours for children and young people from local schools to promote their artistic vocation are part of the essential tasks of the project.
5 Proyectongo, a multidisciplinary cultural project
This artistic-cultural project is located in the San Francisco de Paula neighborhood, in the San Miguel del Padrón municipality. Their creators, Eloy and Joan Barrios, father and son have the purpose of making a difference within the community through Cuban art.
Its current headquarters, which was formerly a cinema, has become a multi-space center. It is a gallery, classrooms-workshops for classes in engraving, painting, music, singing and martial arts, offices, and an amphitheater. It enriches the cultural life of this peripheral neighborhood of the capital.
The activities are especially dedicated to boys and girls, as well as the elderly. More than an artistic-cultural project, this is a space to reach the soul of those who need it most within the community.
Other projects that we also like and would like to mention are Muraleando and San Isidro Distrito de Arte, two community projects of an urban nature where the street art merges with other artistic manifestations.
So, if you are thinking of organizing a trip to Cuba, whether to travel with your family, with your group of friends or with your classmates, with your couple or even in your honey moon, on your own or in one of our tailor made trips, don't miss any of our recommendations to travel to Cuba without complications and to know about the evolution of COVID-19 situation in Cuba.
We suggest some of our most popular organized tours , and, if it is not what you were looking for, we will design your personalized trip, and above all, we suggest that you follow our tips to live the authentic Cuban culture while showing your most human and supportive side in Cuba.
Article written by Gabriela Rodríguez, independent Cuban guide.
Video produced and edited by Javier Ernesto Hernández-López.0