On May 14 a festival will bring together children and their parents from all over the island in the buffer zone.
The festival ‘Peace works’ is being organised by the Home for Cooperation, UNFICYP, the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, the POST research institute and the Educational Programme for a Culture of Peace.
“The festival is important because it is aimed at children and young people from all over the island, something which is not very common,” Suleiman Gkelener, Turkish Cypriot teacher and member of the educational council for a culture of peace, said.
“The festival programme includes a variety of activities such as music, art and, above all, games.”
“Kids love games and through them it is mirrored what is important in life,” he added. He said the festival activities would provide an excellent opportunity for learning for both children and youth through the development of skills and abilities, providing opportunities for cooperation, establishing friendly relationships, respect, mutual understanding and conflict resolution.
“Beyond this, the festival offers children, families and teachers the opportunity to learn from each other,” Gkelener said.
Greek Cypriot teacher Eleni Kotsiamani, who is a member of the same council, also stressed participation in activities involving children from all communities in Cyprus, where respect for the dignity of each child is guaranteed, regardless of national, socio-economic, linguistic, religious or other background, has a huge benefit for the individual development of children, and for the healthy development of society.
“The lack of contact between the members of a society is a factor leading to the creation of stereotypes, polarisation, alienation, and negative images of members of other groups,” she said. “Thousands of children have grown up trapped in fear of another community, the fear of tomorrow, fear of the alteration and falsification of identity. Children and young people of Cyprus, however, demonstrate through their participation in this programme’s activities that they are able and willing to cultivate the culture of peace at all levels and in all forms.”
“They play, have fun, discuss and plan together, under one umbrella, in one country, this is peace,” she concluded.
The first bilingual tele-puppet show will be presented at the event, especially designed for children of the two biggest communities in Cyprus. There will be a hip-hop music programme. Also included are other activities such as art, storytelling, a children’s photography exhibition and activities for peace education. The festival will end with a walk for peace on both sides of Nicosia for teachers and parents.
The event will take place in the area in front of the Home for Cooperation opposite Ledra Palace from 10am until 4pm.
For more info: http://www.home4cooperation.info/blog/peace-works-children-youth-festival