By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS day centre for children with working parents is hoping to encourage more teachers to get involved with the volunteer project which has been operating for more than a decade.
The non-profit centre started with nine children; it now provides a safe place for 55 children aged between 5 and 12, whose parents are working and can’t afford childcare. There is a waiting list for placement at the facility, which hopes to offer further activities in the near future.
The center, which is registered with both the Paphos District Office and the relevant government body, is operated by a committee of volunteers, headed up by local businesswoman, vice president of the Paphos hoteliers association, Evelyn Cleanthous Komodromou.
“We would really like to offer a wider range of subjects for the children and are appealing to any artists, teachers, dance instructors, IT experts and so on, to give up a small amount of their time and share their knowledge with us,” she said.
According to Komodromou, a number of hoteliers initially noticed that there were children roaming the Paphos streets and were concerned. Many of their parents were working in hotels at the time and came from overseas.
As a working mother, whose children have since grown up, Komodromou said she understood the difficulties facing parents and wanted to do something to alleviate the situation.
“When we started, most of the parents were Pontian Greeks, we now have children from all sorts of backgrounds such as Romanians, Bulgarians, Russians, British and Lebanese, as well as Cypriots.”
Although the eight qualified child care professionals who work at the kids club speak Greek, Komodromou said that the centre is especially beneficial for children who want to improve their language skills.
“Although our permanent staff aren’t teachers, it’s an ideal place for children of foreign nationals, as the parents might not have the language skills in order to help them with their homework.”
She said the facility offers a safe place for local children during the school holidays from 7am to 4.30pm and during term time from 1pm to 6pm. They are also provided with two meals a day – breakfast and lunch, and lunch and afternoon tea, respectively. The total cost for a single child is 65 euros a month.
“We are careful about what food we serve the children, it’s all prepared by a qualified dietician,” Komodromou said, adding that the main meal is always a cooked one.
As well as homework time, the children take part in sporting activities with a qualified instructor three times a week, they are taught about different religions by a theologian and also learn an array of subjects from guest speakers, including on road safety.
The centre is next to the 4th elementary school in Kato Paphos and is housed in a spacious building, which is separate from the school.
The annual running costs for the centre runs in the thousands of euros and only a third of this is covered by the state. The rest is collected from fundraising, festivals and events.
For information visit www.kentropaidion.com or call 26222807/ 99163186.