A call for volunteers and donations went out on Tuesday from the group of volunteers which formed in the last couple of weeks, helping out Syrian refugees in Cyprus and now preparing relief packages to be sent to Greece.
The effort has been placed under the aegis of former EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and enjoys the support of Nicosia Municipality and the European Union`s Representation in Cyprus.
“We need hands” Volunteer Rosie Charalambous said speaking at a press conference in City Plaza shopping centre in Nicosia. She urged people to join the 1,000 strong Facebook group “Cypriots Helping Syrian Refugees” where they will also be able to find updated information on what items are most needed.
“Ask your friends to give a couple of hours of their time”, she pleaded addressing the people of Cyprus.
As Charalambous said right now they need back packs, sleeping bags, small tents, baby carrying slings/pushchairs, shoes/trainers, socks, underwear for both sexes and all ages, toys, diapers, sanitary towels, soap, tooth paste and tooth brushes, baby wipes, talc/baby powder, cream for babies.
“Think what you would need if you and your family were on the road with just a plastic bag and a mobile phone”, she added. At the same time she promised that no item will be wasted as any items donated which are deemed not to be suitable to be sent to Greece will be donated through Nicosia Municipality to families in need in Cyprus or to local charities.
“We would like to encourage all Cypriots to lend a hand in this truly exceptional initiative,” Vassiliou said. She clarified that the volunteers do not collect food. What we need are essential items, she said, adding that there is also a need for volunteers to help with the sorting and packaging of items donated.
The City Plaza shop, located in the former food court area, will be open for the next two weeks from 1000 hrs until 1200 and from 1700 until 1900.
The former European Commissioner called on anybody who would be willing to donate some of their free time in order to help, to do so. “Let us not forget that when Cyprus and Cypriots needed help from abroad it was generously given,” she noted.
On his part Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yorkadjis congratulated the volunteers and thanked the City Plaza owners for the use of the space. The Municipality could not be absent from this initiative he said, adding that this is why are here, standing by this effort in order to support Syrian refugees, as well as the Greek authorities and NGOs who are struggling to offer relief to the refugees reaching the Greece`s shores.
On his part head of the EU`s Representation in Cyprus Giorgos Markopouliotis recalled that European Commission President Jean – Claude Juncer said that the crisis in an unprecedented one since the 2nd World War and that it needs a European response, which should be given united and in solidarity.
He also said, Markopouliotis added, that the Europe he wants is the one where the baker in Kos island gave bread to the refugees or where the children at a German railroad station applauded the refugees arriving.
“This is the Europe we want”, he said, adding that the volunteers collecting items also play their small part in creating a Europe of solidarity.
Nicosia: Shop 21 lower ground floor, City Plaza, Makarios Avenue. Contact Rosie: 99666011. Open Tuesday – Friday 10.00 – 12.00, and 17.00 – 19.00.
Larnaca: 53, Ayiou Lazarou St. Contact: Louise: 96736838. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10.00 – 13.00.
Limassol: AV Solutions, 30 Spyrou Kyprianou, 4045 Germasogeia. Opposite Carrefour. Open 09.00-18.00 Mon to Fri. Contact: Amy: 97661996 or Nikki: 99080118
Paphos: El Paso Kiosk. On the road from Geroskipou to the Limassol highway. Contact: Petros Mavros: 99217165
Paralimni: Contact Toulla Iacovou, 99595699
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY