Speaking on behalf of parents, Aylin Torres stated that if anyone has the idea of taking away the beautiful building, in an attempt to apply Chapter III of the Helms-Burton Act, they will be obliged to face the students themselves, parents, teachers, and other workers who will defend it unconditionally.
The school is located in Villa Elvira, a residence which the illustrious patriot Emilio Bacardi Moreau (1844-1922) had built for his wife's enjoyment on the former El Coral estate, in the neighborhood of Cuabitas, outside of the city, on Boniato Road. Perhaps the rural atmosphere with flowering mangoes and palms, surrounded by green hills, combined with the care artists took in the decoration of buildings and gardens, including a large central fountain, as well as the welcoming dormitories and game rooms, and especially the staff, make clear that there is joy here.
"I think the opening of the school has been successful," said Dr. Triana Mederos, national director of Special Education at the Ministry of Education, "because these students with physical-motor disabilities, these first 67 from the provinces of Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba, seem to feel at home, as if they had already studied here several years."
"As you can see, she said, centers of this kind imply much effort and resources from the state, and although the fundamental objective is the physical, psychological, and pedagogical rehabilitation of children, they are not compulsory schools, and require the willingness and close involvement of parents."
She added that "programs and strategies are designed on the basis of the extensive experience of our teachers, precise diagnoses and attention from specialists in Public Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Cuban Association of the Physically Limited (Aclifim), with the decisive integration of parents and families."
The student body includes children aged five to 15, pursuing standard national primary and secondary academic programs, along with physical rehabilitation provided by multi-disciplinary teams, as well as occupational therapy, with all necessary resources available.
-Some 34,000 children, adolescents, and youth are enrolled in special schools in Cuba.- Nearly 12,000 teachers serve them.- Schooling in these institutions is not mandatory. Parents decide if they want their sons and daughters to attend a special or a regular school.- If a regular program is chosen, individualized attention is guaranteed.
-A total of 202 diagnostic and guidance centers exist across the country, at least one in every municipality, to advise families in determining the context that can best support their child's development.
-Multidisciplinary teams composed of pedagogues, educational psychologists, speech therapists, social workers, and diagnostic staff design and support educational plans.- The Ministry of Education works closely with the Ministry of Public Health to serve hospitalized children. (Granma)