We arrived in Cyprus at the beginning of April 2019 to complete a needs assessment. There are over 15,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers plus an estimated 5,000 still unregistered. This comes as a surprise to many but Cyprus has the highest number of Refugees as a percentage of population in Europe.
In June we opened a pioneering new service for the many refugees who struggling to survive:
Video by Josephine Salisbury Mills
The idea, as always is to fill the gaps, put dignity at the heart of what we do and enable refugees to rebuild their lives. We are working closely with the other refugee and community organisations in the country.
Dignity Centre Nicosia
We have completely renovated a 3-story building in the centre of Nicosia, close to other essential services with new plumbing, electricity, internet, air conditioning, redecoration, furniture and fittings. The Centre is a community drop-in centre that refugees are free to use to learn new skills, get psycho-social support and access other services.
Each storey has a different activity.
The basement floor is the workshop area – for bicycle repairs, carpentry and art. It also has showers and washing machines available to those who need them.
We are also enabling other organisations to use the space to offer their specialist services.
The first floor will also have a completely new and well equipped kitchen to prepare food for celebrations but also to offer cookery and nutrition training to the unaccompanied young refugees (18-21 year olds).
We serve breakfast 3 days a week at the Caritas Intake Center in partnership with Caritas using local food donations. It’s a friendly, healthy service that says people are valued.
Let’s Eat! events
We host monthly, recurring meals for local refugees using a shared community space on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. We want to bring people together with food and have some fun! These events are always a hit and we serve about 250 meals.
UNHCR Teen Transition Kits
When unaccompanied minors turn 18 they are no longer eligible for supported housing and need to live independently. In partnership with UNHCR we give the leavers our Teen Transition Kits. The Kits contain basic household items that are essential to a young person starting out on their own.
All this has been created by hard-working volunteers, generous donors and fantastic local suppliers. It is hard work and very rewarding. We need volunteers to continue developing and managing. You can help.