GAU – Flying Angels
Do you need help? or Can you Help?
By Margaret Sheard and Chris Elliott
A short time ago we heard about a new project from Girne American University called the “Flying Angels” and since then we have had some meetings with the people who will be running this ground-breaking project. Gűnay Beyzade is the Project Co-ordinator of the Flying Angels project and although we unfortunately have a language issue we have had the assistance of Salise Kocak MA, who is a Psychology Lecturer and has been invaluable at the meetings for both her own input and to help as interpreter.
The aim of the Flying Angels is to offer a service for the senior citizens and children of the community which will be handled with social responsibility, care and sensitivity. This will be with the co-operation of the students of the Nursing School, the Faculty of Education – pre-school Education Department, and the Faculty of Humanities – Psychology Department. The students are prepared to offer the following services for senior citizens in their own homes as a means of facilitating general health and quality of life:-
→ personal care : healthy eating : mental health
→ book and newspaper reading : developing hobbies
There is also a need for help with pre-school age children where the parent(s) have no means or access to daytime care while they are at work and the aim is to offer help with effective basic pre-school education as well as with their parents in the comfort of their own home to acquire information and skills for early-stage childcare.
The team will respond to requests for the contribution of the Flying Angels towards a child’s awareness, social, emotional and psychological development.
The aim of the project is to offer services to the community in the comfort of their own homes with professional and scientific supervision with nursing and psychological care and in doing so they will be contributing to the health and development of the people in the community.
The services offered will be for all people, irrespective of nationality, living in North Cyprus. The pilot scheme is centred on the Girne area and is currently providing medical and psychological support at the Lapta Nursing Home but eventually will cover the whole of North Cyprus from north to south and east to west.
GAU Flying Angels are at your service for personal and community development, so for help and service requests ; telephone : 650 20 00 (extension 1280)
The administrators are aware that there is an abundance of foreign nationals who have experience in nursing, social services, and other medical fields who would probably be more than willing to offer their services on a voluntary basis to the project and it would be well worth encouraging these people to come forward and join the Flying Angels.
This is indeed a much needed project and will be so much appreciated by the people in North Cyprus, especially those who are reaching an age when they are not sure how they would cope should their health begin to suffer in the future. Many British expatriates return to the UK for this very reason but with this project coming into existence this may not be necessary and all of the foreign nationals who have made North Cyprus their home can hopefully remain here with the knowledge that there will be help at hand with the Flying Angels.
We are well aware of cases of people having to leave the island, one of which over recent years being a neighbour whose husband was starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s and of course there was no help or facilities available other than relying on friends and neighbours. Where 24 hour care is needed, the carer needs some respite and hopefully this is where the Flying Angels would be able to step in to offer support especially from a psychological aspect for both the patient and the family.
I also had a personal experience some years ago when my sister was hospitalised with a broken hip for 10 days in Lefkoşa State Hospital, unable to move until after her operation. Ten days does not seem such a long time but in the heat of July it was very wearing travelling to and fro every day and I would have really appreciated some help. There was a further experience when Chris broke his hip. This was at the beginning of 2011 and at this time it involved a 5 week stay at Girne State Hospital which was prolonged due to a chest infection he was suffering at the time resulting in the operation being postponed for some 3 weeks. During this time Chris experienced panic attacks and could not sleep because he thought he would stop breathing. This was not a normal reaction for him and he could only think that it was due to the fact that he was not in control of events. Psychological counselling would have been invaluable in this sort of scenario.
Chris also had a similar experience when his wife was in hospital for 6-7 months on and off with no support other than from friends. At the time he was a member of the 112 (now CESV) Emergency Services Volunteers and apart from his own experiences he recalls seeing a young Englishman who, whilst on holiday, received severe head injuries in a car crash and his mother came out from the UK and was with him day and night before he was repatriated back to the UK, this must have been very distressing for her in a country she did not know and with no-one to give her support and again psychological assistance would probably have been very helpful to her.
On another occasion, Chris went to the hospital with Terry Carter who was then the Director of Operations for the 112 volunteers, to see 4 people who were on holiday and were in intensive care with suspected food poisoning. Again, there would be no-one to give support.
All of these stress factors do not help a patient to recover quickly and easing the stress situation with psychological support is imperative, as if the patient is relieved of this the recovery period should improve dramatically. The Flying Angels would be able to help with this situation.
At the time Chris talked to his contacts with the Doctors and also the then, 112 emergency volunteers about the need for forming some type of volunteer group to be on hand but the concept had received no interest from the Authorities so there was no further development for the need of a volunteer service at that time.
On reflection we both noticed, on our separate occasions, that Turkish Cypriots who are hospitalised have the support and care of family members. This is not always the case with foreign nationals who are probably just 2 people and, in a lot of cases, are people living on their own with no family here at all. The Flying Angels would be invaluable in these sorts of cases.
Cyprusscene.com are extremely enthusiastic about this project and will be doing everything possible to promote it with publicity through articles on our website and through our many contact channels to give maximum exposure so that everyone will be aware of the Flying Angels and the service they give to the community.
So what can you do to help the Flying Angels?
Over the next few months, teams of volunteers are are being brought together to assist Flying Angels and those with a background in social services management, nursing, medical and psychology professions, first aiders or simply those who want to help others, are invited to apply for consideration by filling in their personal details and sending them to the Flying Angels by clicking here
To learn more about the Flying Angels, take time to look at their website to see what they are trying to do and offer to the community. Click Here
This is a new initiative to bring expatriate volunteers into the Flying Angels organisation so in turn they can help others less fortunate.