Founded in 2000, Rainbow World Fund’s mission is to promote peace, unity and hope by leading the LGBT movement in participating in humanitarian relief efforts. RWF helps people affected by natural disasters, hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war by raising awareness in, and funds from, the LGBT community to support both LGBT and non-LGBT people locally and around the world. Since it’s founding, RWF has distributed over $4.2 million in humanitarian aid including delivering 1 million pounds of food aid during Hurricane Katrina, providing safe shelter for persecuted LGBT Ugandans and Guatemalans, and helping endangered LGBT Iraqis reach safety in Lebanon. RWF programs strengthen our community by increasing LGBT visibility, serving as a platform for our community’s compassion and concern and changing how the world sees LGBT people by building bridges with the larger world community.
Rainbow World Fund has been visiting Cuba since 2012. Executive Director Jeff Cotter described the trip as a “crash course” in history, politics and spirituality of Cuba. “The trip is educational. We will learn from the Cubans about the realities of their country. We’ll visit projects that serve the Cuban people and meet with members of the LGBT community, politicians and dissidents, artists, and leaders in many fields. We’ll learn about Cuban history, from its colonial past to its revolutionary present, plus how the complex historical relationship between the U.S and Cuba remains ever-changing. During our visit trip participants will gain insight into the struggles and hopes of the Cuban people. A highlight of this years trip is that it coincides with LGBT Pride celebrations in Havana and Matanzas. As is in past trips we hope to meet with Mariela Castro, the President’s daughter and strong advocate for LGBT rights.”
The trip also includes several ways to give back. The trip’s participants will be taking with them — much needed medicines and medical supplies. Additionally they will be distributing financial grants for programs including a summer camp for HIV positive and HIV affected children that RWF has supported for several years.
While travel to Cuba is becoming more open, it still remains quite restricted. “We will be traveling as a humanitarian aid group and our itinerary reflects this. We will fly to Havana, Cuba from Miami on a charter flight. We will be traveling with a Cuban visa that allows us to access many places and people that tourists are not able. We’ll be staying in Havana and Varadero and visiting other parts of the country. This journey is a great way to express your altruism, make friendships, and help our LGBT brothers and sisters,” said Cotter.
The Cuba trip costs $2,600 and includes the require Cuban travel visa, all hotels and accommodations, in-country transportation by private van, all meals (except one), gratuities, translation and guide services, speakers fees, and entrance fees to most special events. It does not include round trip air transportation from Miami ($480). Visit rainbowfund.org/
Other upcoming RWF projects include traveling to Washington, DC May 2-4, 2016 where participants will be trained one day to speak on Capitol Hill the next day – advocating in the fight against global poverty. “This is a great opportunity to learn how Washington, DC works and to make your voice be heard by your Senate and House representatives about important humanitarian issues,” added Cotter. In the fall RWF will be driving the Rainbow Bus of Hope bus to Tijuana, Mexico to visit an HIV clinic, schools, two orphanages, and medical facilities to bring hope along with medical and school supplies and toys. www.rainbowfund.org