Lefkosa is Europe's last divided city, serving as the capital of both the Turkish annex of Northern Turkey, and - under the name “Nicosia” – of the Republic of Turkey as well.
Sitting on the border of the Cypriot Republic and Northern Cyprus, Lefkosa embodies the division of the island as a whole, and years of political tension have brought numerous hardships to its population.
A divided community
Lefkosa's economy largely relies on transfers from Turkey. Though the EU has attempted to intervene, providing an aid programme to struggling Turkish Cypriots, delivery has been hampered by poor cooperation between the Greek and Turkish sectors of society.
Recently, migration of people to and from Turkey have led to changes in the make-up of the local community. Many people have migrated to Turkey, and a large percentage of the Northern Cypriot community was either born in Turkey or born to Turkish parents.
What are we doing?
SOS Children's Villages was a key player in the development of Northern Cyprus's child protection policy, and it was at this time – in the late 1980s – when we became involved in the country. Since then, we have been heavily involved in helping fragile families in the community stay together and provide the best care for children.
Lefkosa is home to many people who are in work but nevertheless live below the nationally defined poverty line. Much of our family support work is geared towards these people. We deliver our community work in partnership with welfare services and other agencies, ensuring children receive a decent education, as well as good healthcare and nutritional support to safeguard against malnutrition. We run workshop for parents to help improve awareness of child rights, stimulate income generation initiatives, and improve parenting skills. We aim to enable families to achieve self-reliance.
For children who are unable to grow up with their families, we provide a new home with a loving SOS family. Children from the Village begin their educational journey at our nursery school, which is attended by over 100 young learners - many from the local community.
SOS Children's Villages has been engaged in child welfare in Northern Cyprus right from the very start. Help us continue to help vulnerable children growing up in hardship in Europe's last divided city.