Humanitarian Assistance for the Kids of Bayamo, Cuba

My Mission

My name is Philip Santiago and I am a senior at Palo Alto High School in California. I am raising money to help underprivileged kids at two daycares called “Aprendiendo a Crecer” and “Seguidores de Jesus” in the town of Bayamo, Cuba.

About Bayamo and the Daycares

Bayamo is a city of about 222,000 people in the east side of Cuba. This town in Cuba is meaningful to me because my Father’s entire family all come from Cuba. Also, my grandmother, Thelma Santiago, was born and raised in the humble city of Bayamo. My grandmother left Cuba in 1962, but she has kept in touch with friends in Bayamo, and she has visited it multiple times. My grandmother’s best friend from childhood, Caridad “Cacha” Tuñon, is the mother of a director of these daycares. 

How We Do It

Shipping items to Cuba can be difficult. Together with the daycare directors, we have arranged a method of shipping which costs approximately $10 to $15 (USD) per pound. One of directors of these daycares will receive each package we send and confirm receipt. Given this shipping cost and their needs, below is a rough estimate of the breakdown of expenses of this charity drive: 

  • 70% of the funds will go toward medicines including: A generic form of Benadryl (diphenhydramine), cold medicines, antiseptics, and analgesics such as generic versions of ibuprofen and acetaminophen.  
  • 30% of funds will cover shipping costs.

Events We Have Organized

In December of 2021, I set up a stand in Little Havana in Miami, Florida (together with my grandmother Thelma Santiago) to collect money for Project Bayamo. We used this chance to spread awareness about the absence of medicine in Cuba and the life of the kids in our day cares. Additionally, I talked to the locals, mostly in Spanish, on how they can help the Cubans. We received a lot of positive feedback, help, advice, and donations.

My Trip to Cuba

In September of 2022, I traveled to Havana, Cuba and took with me over 100 pounds of medicine, vitamins, first aid supplies and educational materials purchased by Project Bayamo.

On the island, I met with Maydelin “Maye” Azahares, the Cuban Representative for Caritas Internationals of Havana. Ms. Azahares coordinates all of the Caritas programs for children in Cuba. She and Caritas agreed to ship the Project Bayamo medicine to Bayamo. The packages will be sent in a van and will be received by  Cristina “Cristy” Tamayo, of Caritas, Bayamo. Ms. Tamayo will make sure that these donations are delivered to the two daycares in Bayamo that regularly receive our donations sent from the U.S. 

I could not travel to Bayamo because of the current economic crisis in Cuba. The lack of reliable transportation, COVID-19 restrictions, and the Dengue epidemic there made it impossible for me to take the donations to Bayamo.

Meeting with Maydelin “Maye” Azahares

The visit to Caritas in Havana and my meeting with Ms. Azahares was a gratifying experience and offered first hand insight into the needs of the poor children all over the island. She explained the daily struggles of these children and how donations like those by Project Bayamo make a world of difference in the lives of these little ones. 

A photo of me and Maydelin “Maye” Azahares with the bag of medicine in Cáritas Cuba.
A photo of me delivering the bag of medicine to Cáritas Cuba.

Take Action!

Project Bayamo only supports 60 kids but there are many more in the world. For this reason I created a charity how-to manual to encourage others to start their own charity organization for children in need in other parts of the world. I distributed it to kids in my high school. As a result, two of my friends have already put what they learned from this manual into practice and have created their own projects. One is for soccer kits for children in Argentina and one for educating elementary school students on the importance of environmental activism.

I encourage you to make your own project.

During my visit, and unexpectedly, Ms. Azahares presented me with a Certificate of Appreciation for Project Bayamo in recognition of our donations and tenacious support.

Meet the Kids

Money Raised so Far:


Donors Wall

Graydon Abel

Miguel Alvarez

Lyndia Arias

Hunter Aronson

Ryan Atchely

Catherine Bannon

Orr Bar-Yossef

Andy Brezo

Miriam Brezo

Hermes Brezo

Greg Brown

Jason Bussey

Joy Chapman

Jeff David

Ben David

Nick David

Susan David

Niccolo Defendi-Cho

Susan DelMedico

Emily Diaz

Maittee Diaz

Ricky Diaz

Brian Donovan

Marti Donovan

Michelle Donovan

Daisy DuBois

Rowan Erickson

Michael Erickson

Tricia Estlund

Chris Flyn

Magali Fontaine

Asher Friedman

Leo Fuentes

Diana Fuentes

Angie Fuentes

Alex Fuentes

Bert Fuentes

Haroh Garcia

Noel Garcia

Marco Giovandrandi

Brian Glacier 

Nancy Green

Robert Gude

Mini Havana Inc.

Carrisa Huntting

Ian Johnson

Spencer Johnson

Johnson Family

Jacob Kasanin

Isaac Kirby

Nina Kontos

Mildred Laboy

Alfonso Macarrein

Thomas Maxwell

Patricia Maxwell

Mary Maxwell

Augusto Maxwell

Victor Mayeron

Franci McFarland

Sanne McFarland

Charlie Miller

Kylee Miller

Zander Miller

Mohamad Mourad

Michael Murphy

Marcos Valdes Ochoa

Luisa Salvador Ozgen

Alec Profit

Tulio Puente

Orland Reyes

Madeline Reyes

Andrew Riggins

Ileana Rodriguez

Lourdes Rodriguez

Ana Santiago

Jose Santiago

Juan Santiago

Thelma Santiago

Suriani Binte Siad

Isabella Silverio

Sebastian Silverio

Radha Singh

Kelly Slaughter

Willow Steele

Juan Jose Torres

Marcos Valdes

Josh Wilde

Brianna Zahorecz

And Thank You to All of the Anonymous Donors

Impact that We have Created

Together we have sent thousands of pills and other supplies to “Aprendiendo a Crecer” and “Seguidores de Jesus“.

Contact Me

Thank you in advance for any money that you can provide and be sure that it will go to a great cause.

If you would like learn more about Project Bayamo or if you would like to offer assistance outside of a PayPal or Venmo donation, please reach out using my contact information on the right.