By Heidi Trautmann
TULIPS, it is not only the national flower of Cyprus, Tulipa Cypria, it
is the flower of hope for the Association TULIPS – and the leitmotiv ‘Help
those with cancer’ is not only a title, it is a leitmotiv in the true sense of
the word .
Today I visited the TULIPS Studio in Ortaköy, right next to the Levent
College, meeting with Mrs. Raziye Kocaismail, the President of the Association,
and the two handicraft teachers Mrs. Nazife Sezgin who is responsible for the
studio and Mrs. Behice Biran, who comes to help and advise but has her
handicraft studio in the Bandabuliya in Old Nicosia where in the last year we
have been aware of many art and craft activities.
Cancer patients come here to the Tulips Studio every day to do
handicraft work to be sold at festive occasions, at village markets or to be
given to the TULIPS Shops. These are people who have cancer treatment behind them or are right in the
middle of it. A good atmosphere
prevails, as if with a family or close friends; they talk while their hands are
busy, they laugh, they are not alone.
Raziye has her office in town, near the Turkish Embassy, where the
patients come to seek advice, but she also often comes to the workshop in
Ortaköy to discuss things and projects with her helpers and most importantly to
exchange some private words with everybody. The workshop is a wide deep room
with many professional sewing machines positioned, some of them are being used by
women for some sewing jobs. Raziye tells me that this shop used to be a cloth
factory owned by Artemel Fatin, who two years ago donated the part of the
building to TULIPS, just shortly before he left to the United States to live
with his son. What a generous gesture, may his heart be blessed, the teachers
exclaim, there is a plate on the wall in his memory. In the back of the
building and on the first floor hundreds of cartons with all kind of material
which he has also left behind, are waiting for the helpers to be transformed into
something useful or fancy. What a big challenge.
The teachers want to teach the group of helpers, mostly women – there
are about 13 people to come every day – to do some local traditional
handicraft, for example silk cocoon work, they have designed flowers, the
petals of are made from these; embroidery, beautiful petit-point stitching.
They have now started teaching children and youngsters, also cancer patients,
to come here and get distracted from their treatments by working for others
with cancer. The teachers show me some ceramic plates the kids have decorated.
The busy ladies have their standard little projects such as aprons,
bags, pouches, even head covers for the patients after chemo, they are engaged
with a project given to them by the UN for the fabrication of hundreds of
printed linen bags, very nice. They want and intend to approach companies,
institutions and enterprises to entrust them with the fabrication of
advertising articles. TULIPS could make a good price and it would be for a good cause.
Anybody interested should get in touch with one of the teachers by phone or
email, please find the details at the bottom of the text. That is a very good idea! I promised I would
ask my friends from the press to hand this message on. I was impressed by the
positive thinking towards life.
When I was about to leave the shop some young people of the Girne
Belediye Tiyatrosu (GIBETSU) came in to talk to Raziye; on 4 September they
will give a charity performance in London
at the Regency Banqueting Hall to collect money for the Cancer Unit at
the General Hospital which they have already successfully done before. The play
is ‘Passadembo’ by the Turkish Cypriot playwright Bekir Kara. A group of eight people,
the director is Güler Şen, will be going to London within a couple of days, and
they came to the shop to collect some second hand dresses for the play.
Nazife Sezgin: Tel 0542 880 3218; Behice Biran:
Tel 0548 895 0005; email: