Published on 4 April 2016 by Granma
To visit the Solidaridad con Panamá (Solidarity with Panama) School, where 180 children and young people with physical and intellectual disabilities or cerebrovascular diseases study, is a moment to rid oneself of sorrows, and be inspired by the determination to overcome any difficulties that lie ahead.
Students at the school are motivated by the staff who work closely with them every day, some 110 workers in total, including 64 teachers, and over 40 assistants, physical therapists and other professionals. Some of whom have also provided educational services in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries.
The school, located in the Fontanar neighborhood in the municipality of Boyeros, Havana, is a site without architectural barriers to mobility, characterized for its cleanliness, order, discipline, lighting in every corner and use of color to invoke peace and happiness.
The Solidaridad con Panamá School was inaugurated by the leader of the Cuban Revolution Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz on 31 December 1989, in the context of U.S. military aggression against Panama. The school teaches at three levels: primary, secondary, and for children with intellectual and developmental difficulties. The school also participates in the “Educate Your Child” program, which offers tools for parents with disabled children.
Walking around the site, one comes across children with no hands eating with their feet; a child who has difficulty walking pushing the wheelchair of another; or another holding a pencil between his teeth to write during class. They all play the normal games for their age, particularly enjoy art classes and get up to mischief now and again. There is no sense here of pity for these children, solely because they have certain limitations.
What stands out is the joy expressed on each of their faces. They all are eager to be photographed and open to talk to anyone. Teachers, workers and students clearly recall key moments in the 25 year history of the school.