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Cuba Delegation visit the Abel Santa Maria School for blind children

The delegation paid a visit to the renowned Abel Santa Maria School which educates pupils with a range of special needs, including visually impairments and deaf-blind.

During our tour of the school, we spent some time in the classrooms, and saw firsthand how teachers and classroom assistants were working with small groups of pupils on literacy, and life skills.

The younger pupils were keen to tell us what they were doing and all seemed very motivated to learn. One class involved blind and visually impaired pupils learning how to prepare a meal and serve a meal.  The lesson took place in a room set up like a house, and a session on chopping vegetables was under way when we arrived!

The ethos of the school is very much to focus on what children can do, rather than what they can’t.

Pupils took pride in preparing and serving us some very welcome herbal tea, and clearing away afterwards.

A computer class was under way for the older pupils, and we were greeted with on screen presentations to welcome us. Many of the pupils spoke English, and had prepared welcome messages with words and images.

One pupil I spoke to said she had learned a lot of English from films and her favourite was Lord of the Rings!

The highlight of the visit was a performance by the school’s orchestra and choir. As we gathered in the hall, the music was quickly underway, with a selection of well known Cuban rhythms getting everyone clapping.

The school has received a great deal of support from the UK, particularly from those who take part in Cuba Cycle Challenge, and this was much appreciated.

The ethos of the school is very much to focus on what children can do, rather than what they can’t.

This was borne out by the banner displayed behind the performers with a quote from Jose Marti:

“No Importan Las Deficiencas Fisicas Del Hombre Cuando De Su Corazon Brotan Ideas Justas Y Nobles”


Cathy Jamieson MP