We are basically a group of friends, most of us students, who decided to help some of the Cuban families affected by hurricane Irma:
• Yarisbel Garcia Quintana: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Canada (Cuban living in Canada)
• Laura Castro de la Guardia: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Canada (Cuban-Canadian)
• Kaidel Martinez Sanchez: Nuclear Engineer, living in Canada (Cuban living in Canada)
• Yasser Novo: PhD Student, University of Calgary, Canada (Cuban living in Canada)
• Javier Batista: PostDoc, University of Calgary, Canada (Cuban living in Canada)
• Laura Gillard: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Canada (Canadian)
• Nathan Grivault: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Canada (French living in Canada)
On September 9th, we witnessed how the hurricane Irma hit Cuba, leaving families without homes, without appliances, without electricity, and without drinking water, and unfortunately, ten people lost their lives. Also, due to its trajectory, the strongest winds from Irma were concentrated along the northern coast of the Island, impacting the tourism sector, an important income for the Cuban economy.
After the hurricane, social media and internet in general, have been bombarded with images and videos with testimonies from the devastation suffered by the Cubans. We have chosen to stop being only witnesses! We have decided that, even away from our Island, WE MUST do something to HELP!
There is no blood bond between us and the families we want to help. None of the families of the Cubans within this group was affected by the hurricane. We are only
driven by our desire to do something good for people that we know are in need. There are small communities in Cuba, like Esmeralda, Isabela de Sagua and Punta
Alegre, where lots of families lost their houses. It was there, among other communities, where hurricane Irma hit the strongest. Currently, they do not have a roof that they can call theirs. They are living with relatives or in shelters. Considering that the number of families which houses had a considerable damage or lost them completely, is probably well above 200 (our goal), we plan on focus, from those families, on those with children and/or elders among their member.
We are kindly appealing for your support towards immediate relief efforts for all of those affected by the hurricane in Cuba.
The family of one of the member of our team, Kaidel, is from Ciego de Avila. Nevertheless, his immediate family is safe and was not affected by Irma. Still, we knew through them that there are lots of other families in need of help. They are currently helping us with getting into contact with families from Punta Alegre, in Ciego de Avila, a poor community where the hurricane hit when it was a category 5 storm.
We plan to use the funds to help the families to rebuild their houses. With the families permission, their names will be published once they are helped. Our goal is to
help 200 families, giving 1000 dollars to each family. This money will help them to buy some of the material needed to rebuild the houses. We know that 1000 dollars are not enough, but we are sure that it will be well received and will give them some financial flexibility.
The funds will be directly withdrawn in Canada, directly into the bank account of the Campaign Organiser. Once extracted, the money will be sent to Cuba. Depending on the time the money will take to get to the families, we
have established a short-term and long-term ways:
Short-term: There are a few ways that we are planning to use to send the money: EnvioDinero.ca, Western Union, and/or direct money transfers to the bank accounts of the families.
Long-term: Two of us are traveling to Cuba in December. Our plan is to contact the families before the
trip, and once in the Island give them the money, taking into consideration the amount of funds that each person is allowed to bring to Cuba.
Note here that, in case we found another reliable way for the funds to get to the families in need, we will
use it as long as we make sure the funds will reach their final destination.
Thank you all in advance, your help is more than appreciated!!!
Yarisbel Garcia Quintana
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