By Heidi Trautmann
Some of my artist friends had invited me to come and visit the NGO Fair 2012 with part of the activities north of the Lokmaci crossing, reaching down through the buffer zone with more activities and information stands on the other side. Music, Dance, Street Theatre were on the programme throughout the day to make people come and linger and eventually get drawn into the pools of information offering explanations by word and leaflets.
The organisers, NGO Support Centre and The Management Centre, with the support of USAID, explain with their own words:.... ‘Following its great success last year, the “NGO Fair 2012” has taken place for the second consecutive year in Nicosia, on Saturday, 15 September. This year’s fair has included new activities as well as increased participation of non-governmental organizations, including important social networks in Cyprus. The aim of the Fair is to familiarise the public with some of the Cypriot NGOs that operate in various sectors and contribute to the common well-being of the island.’
NGO’s such as The Management Centre with its institute of communication and languages (ICL), CCMC (Cyprus Community Media Centre, Active Dialogue Network, Has-Der folk art institute, women’s associations, environment and peace organisations and more.
The event was organised under the “ENGAGE-Do your Part for Peace” project, as a form of recognition towards the NGOs of Cyprus for the good work they are conducting. The objective of “ENGAGE”, once again, remains the sensitization of the public towards a more active citizenship approach, aiming at the establishment of peace and reconciliation within an optimal standard of living. The aim is also to regularly visit village fairs with their information to be available for villagers and their questions.
The entertainment that was offered comprised music - among them the really good Caravan Blue soul and pop group consisting of four women guitars, violin, vocal, and one percussionist (only male); and later in the evening, concluding the event, the famous ‘Gommalar’ music group; they shared the stage with theatre groups and traditional folk dancers and other dance groups. At the same time children were able to participate in various educational and fun activities like face-painting and balloon sculpture, while stilt walkers and clowns raised laughs from the audience performing various tricks. In the afternoon a photograph walk in the old Nicosia took place.
But the local Cypriot artist Sevcan Cerkez was the most frequented stand with her project to take the hand prints in clay of whoever came by – when I arrived at around 13:00 hrs she had already 200 pieces, so by the evening the figure may come up to over 1000. She had helpers.
She will fire them and one day will hang them all up between the North and the South: Hands across borders. I also left mine with my name on it, my hand for peace.
Note 1: The Management Centre has published a book “An Assessment of Civil Society in Cyprus – A Map for the Future” An international action-research project coordinated by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
Note 2: If you want to learn more about the NGOs you find them all in the internet, you can also get more information on Engage-do your part for peace.
Published in Cyprus Observer September 22