Spring Festival to help Sri
Lanka people living in Cyprus
By Heidi Trautmann…..
Not far from the Ledra Palace crossing there is the private home of the Counsellor at the German Embassy, Peter Neven and his wife Aigül, and as we approached it we were surrounded by Sri Lanka people in their traditional colourful costumes and music filled the streets. Aigül Neven is a voluntary helper at the Caritas Centre and Sri Lanka Support Centre and as finances are always short because of the many people in domestic services for example who come and seek help she decided to organise a charity event at her home aiming to raise some funds for these centres but also to introduce to her friends the great culture of Sri Lanka. Her husband Peter supported the idea and they decided to contribute from their own pocket for a successful Spring Fest.
The garden was beautifully decorated although the Sri Lankan ladies in their best colourful costumes outshone all garden decoration. The outdoor kitchen was fully occupied and tempting smells were filling the courtyard where the guests were seated to enjoy the afternoon. It was an international attendance listening to the national music, dances and songs, performed by young people and it was a pleasure to watch them. Typical snacks were offered with the drinks while the ladies in the kitchen prepared the main menu.
The party was opened by Ms Gosia Chrysanthou from the Nicosia Caritas who gave us some information on the purpose of the party and later I asked Sister Victorine – who had organised the cultural programme – some more questions about the situation of the migrants and asylum seekers who come to the Centre to seek support. She deplored their situation deeply: “These people are in desperate need of help, some don’t even have the food and diapers for their babies because there is no employment for them. They need food and clothes, and most of all they want to lead a more respected life, respected as a human being; they are often badly treated by their employers and we try to intervene and assist where we can.”
What a good idea to invite guests to learn about these problems and at the same time learn something about Sri Lanka culture, fashion and food, their love of music, dance and simple joys of life; the Sri Lankans were so happy to have this party, a getting together where they and their traditions were appreciated.
As I learned from Aigül Neven later 1100 Euros were collected – in a fish bowl as Aigül had explained – plus some money from sales of national handicraft.
A joyful event to help others in need. Thank you for reminding us.
To see this review and more art and culture articles please visit my website www.heiditrautmann.com