Topic 1 Presentation of Best Practices in Cyprus

Refumade - Fashion & Handmade creations helping refugees to rebuild their lives.

A project by Refugee Support Europe / Nicosia Dignity Centre

INFORMATION

  • The organization implementing this initiative is the Dignity Centre Nicosia, managed by the NGO Refugee Support Europe that has as its main goal the rebuilding of lives with dignity.  
  • This organization helps refugees, and the communities that harbour them, with much-needed material support. Refugee Support Europe has pioneered an approach where everything they do is driven by respecting the dignity of the refugees they support. And every idea they have is measured by how it can in some way restore or enhance the dignity of the people they help. This approach is called Aid With Dignity.  
  • Refugee Support Europe is a volunteer organisation who provides short-term, essential aid with dignity. It is an international community of volunteers, operating to the highest professional standards. The volunteers bring vital enthusiasm and find the organisation’s dignity approach hugely rewarding. Every penny donated and all the volunteer energy is focused on improving the physical and spiritual wellbeing of the people they support. 

The dignity centre helped people to: 

  • English & Greek language classes every week with qualified local teachers 
  • Computer skills classes  
  • CV development 
  • We shipped in bicycles, repair them and have distributed over 200 to help people get fit and get work 
  • A busy sewing workshop for over 30 men and women to learn new skills and make money from items they produce 
  • We sell those fantastic items through our online shop Refumade
  • This sits at the heart of the Centre 
  • When Covid stopped us providing breakfast for 75 people every morning we set up food bank for 200 people  
  • Barber service every Friday when 12 men could get their hair cut and our 3 barbers were learning a new trade 
  • Showers and washing machines open every day for people to feel fresh 
  • Monthly hygiene packs for 85 women 
  • A comfortable space to relax, shelter from the weather, and have fun 
  • Organised football tournaments twice a week for 18 keen footballers 
  • We bought what the refugees needed locally, in turn supporting the local economy—and building crucial bridges between local people and the new arrivals

These services are provided to migrants in general and do not focus on women TCNs as the main target group. 

DESCRIPTION

The Refumade initiative allowed the migrants involved to learn helpful skills and earn some cash to supplement meagre cash reserves. But critically they had a place of support and welcome where they could come and spend time with each other. It offered some purpose. It was a comfort. It was an escape from their crowded and often uncomfortable living conditions. There are few other places where they could spend time. There were a lot of laughs. 

“We often saw women arriving at the Centre downcast, uncertain, demotivated and we saw over a short period of time how they transformed. They looked more confident, more outgoing, happier.”

ADDITIONAL SKILLS LEARNED

  • The effort needed to maintain a routine of a regular job in a chaotic personal life 
  • Working together with others in a workplace 
  • Spending time learning and training which wasn’t paid (they only got paid for items that we could sell) 
  • Building confidence in their abilities  
  • Helping people out of a rut and offering some momentum so that they could move from this to the next stage of their life