Local activist has called on people to walk in migrants’ shoes this Saturday in a 20km hike from Kokkinotrimithia to Nicosia’s old city centre.
Starting from the metal gate of Pournara migrant reception centre at 9am, activist and volunteer Alexis Sophocleous will walk to OHI square in a “hike for mutual understanding”.
The walk is part of Sophocleous’ efforts to raise awareness about various issues, including blindness and mental illness called Cyprus Step by Step.
It aims to “highlight the need for solidarity and mutual understanding among people, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic”, reads the announcement.
“War, poverty, disease and fear all make us feel weak, but when we get close to other people – especially those who come from other places or are different from us – it is a way to regain strength and give birth to hope,” Sophocleous said.
Since the pandemic outbreak, asylum seekers and migrants who arrive on the island are held in the reception centre. The overcrowded centre in Pournara was designed to host people for 72 hours until their applications are submitted, and they undergo the necessary health examinations.
To date, more than 1,000 people are being held in the centre, many of them sleeping in tents. This had led to several demonstrations and migrants demands that their asylum applications be processed faster.
All the necessary health protocols will be followed during the walk, the announcement added.
Various NGOs support the initiative support including Caritas Cyprus, Cyprus Refugee Council and the Dignity Centre, all working directly with vulnerable groups including migrants.
For more information contact:
Caritas Cyprus at https://caritascyprus.org/ .
Cyprus Refugee Council at https://cyrefugeecouncil.org/ .