By the Numbers

  • Status
  • Area
  • Cost
  • Dates
    Oct.1, 2022 - Mar. 31, 2023


The complex political and economic environment in Cuba leaves many of the islands most vulnerable population with few opportunities for personal and professional growth. In 2020, the island nation found itself in its most severe economic contraction since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the government reporting an 11% contraction. As of 2021, Cuba started transitioning to a single currency, devaluing the Cuban Peso (CUP) for the first time since 1959, and removing the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) from circulation. While the dual currency system had been functional, and at times necessary, it also created social inequalities and wage gaps. For the average Cuban, a CUC was worth 24 times more than a CUP. In response to the worsening economic and political scenarios, the Cuban government approved legislation in September 2021 that promoted the expansion of the private sector. This legislation has allowed for an increase in the number of small and medium businesses permitted to operate in the formal economy.

The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) has historically played an important role in promoting peace, reconciliation, and a dignified life on the island. Under the framework of Article 54 in the Cuban Constitution, the Jesuits, and the Church more broadly, have been decisive in leading dialogue processes that aim to provide the populace with capacities to generate a culture of peace. The Network of Loyola Centers is a network of community centers established by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to promote popular education in Cuba. One of the fundamental purposes of the network is to have a direct impact on the periphery of society, on those who suffer from systematic barriers and experience vulnerability daily. Each center has different levels of expertise based on their current resources and offers classes in three main categories to help center the individual in the learning process and give them an active role in shaping their reality.

Our Project

The “Promoting Civic Values and Entrepreneurship in Marginalized Communities” project will contribute to establishing a civics program in Havana that will promote dialogue, reflection, and participation in social, economic, and political spaces. The project will also continue offering training and advice in technical skills and entrepreneurships to vulnerable families in Havana, Camagüey, and Santiago de Cuba to strengthen the ability of individuals from vulnerable groups to participate in a broad-based market economy with the creation or strengthening of new businesses.  

Project Objectives:

  • Objective 1: To consolidate community centers as spaces that promote civic education, reconciliation, and public debate about current events.
  • Objective 2: To strengthen the autonomy of vulnerable groups by improving and promoting their entrepreneurial skills.


“Participating in the expo fairs brought me great joy and encouraged me to continue with my work. A neighbor (who also participates in the classes) and I already made our first sales in the community and we are convinced that we have to look at what the community needs to be able to succeed.”

Mariely, a participant in the Loyola Centers training programs