The Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network Latin America is coordinated by Mr. Noel Osvaldo. He was born in 1942 in Camaguey, Cuba and brought up in the Baptist Church. His grandmother was among the founders of the Church in the city of Camaguey. He worked with teenagers and youth on their weekly programs in the Church. Mr. Noel, a teacher has worked with elementary, and secondary schools as well as with Pre-University programmes in Cuba. He became blind in 1990 aged 24 years.
At the time of becoming blind, Mr. Noel was a pastor in his Church. The members of the congregation in his Church persuaded him to resign when he became blind and take on light duties in the church. However, he did not resign but led the ministry to grow in leaps and bounds. He has since retired as a pastor even though he continues to train Church leaders on ways to include persons with disabilities in Church leadership and activities.
He is an Executive Member of the National Blind Association which he founded together with others in 1978. In 1990, he started a pastoral programme for persons with disabilities. This is an interdenominational programme which advocates for inclusion of disability discourse in Churches and Theological Institutions in Cuba. Mr. Noel has held workshops and conferences for seminaries in Cuba where issues relating to disability are discussed. These conferences have been a springboard for inclusion of persons with disabilities in the church and society.
Mr. Noel took part in the 8th World Council of Churches(WCC) Assembly held in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1998. It is during this assembly that EDAN as a network to give impetus to disability work at the Council was formed. Since the formation of EDAN, he has been EDAN’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America. He also serves as a member of EDAN’s Reference Group.
Rev. Noel Fernandez Collot,
Chicho Valdes 423 Entre 3y4, Ciego de Avila 65100 Cb
Tel:(Office) + 53-33-225223