Mission & Service–funded global partner the Cuban Council of Churches has united two goals in a pilot project: encouraging sustainable farming and creating churches that are more inclusive of people with disabilities. Twenty families in four provinces in Cuba receive farming support and pastoral care. Farmers diversify their skills, gain more autonomy, and improve their families’ resilience.
Ernesto González, the project coordinator, is an agronomist who lives with partial paralysis. He offers support to farmers who may have visual impairments, intellectual disabilities, damaged hands, or other challenges, explaining that the project meets a need for inclusion while supporting economic improvement.
An important part of the project includes participants giving back to their communities and to other people living with disabilities. This way, strengthening family economies also involves building a social economy—one built on collaboration rather than competition. For example, one man who has an intellectual disability works with his parents to produce a variety of vegetable crops, and then they share some of their produce with a seniors’ home. Other families raise sheep, goats, or pigs.
“Our emphasis is to support these people first with what they want to do,” says Ernesto.
Funds raised through the Gifts with Vision program of the United Church are used to provide small grants so families can buy seeds, small animals, or whatever they need to improve their farms.
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