Cyprus Mail

Refugees in Cyprus share their stories

Screen grab from one of the UNHCR videos

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2020, the Cyprus office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released on Thursday videos of some refugees on the island who are making a difference  for their families, their communities and for local society.

Among those people are a group of unaccompanied minors who, as part of an initiative led by the Occupational Therapy Programme of the European University Cyprus, some of these youngsters are volunteering to sew facemasks together with students from the programme.

“Through this experience, the asylum-seeking children get an opportunity to give something back to the host society, while also learning valuable skills that can help them in their transition into adult life,” UNHCR said.

It added that the facemasks will be given to refugees and other vulnerable groups in Cyprus, such as the elderly, in collaboration with local authorities and organisations.

UNHCR also took the opportunity to raise the problems these teenagers face.

“Once they come of age, they must leave the shelters and fend for themselves as young adults, many without the necessary language skills or any vocational training. None of these children have any family network to support them through this transition.”

Other stories concern a group of asylum-seeking women living in Cyprus who decided to cook together and present their traditions and stories on the occasion of #WorldRefugeeDay in collaboration with Caritas Cyprus.

Another video presents the The Learning Refuge initiative in Paphos which is a community-led space volunteers help meet the needs of families, including refugees, through art, language lessons, theatre workshops and much more.

Marcella, a multi-talented Iraqi-Egyptian woman and her two boys tell their story. Marcella, a recognised refugee, works as a florist in Cyprus, where she has been living for five years. She is also a gifted creative writer and storyteller.


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