By Margaret Sheard ……

We recently visited the new building which houses the Kyrenia Youth and Resource Centre – GIGEM, in Girne, which has been set up under the umbrella of SOS Children’s Villages, to offer training and help for 16-26 year old young people in the Girne area considered to be at risk, who would like to make a better life for themselves through work skills and social activities.

The project has been funded by the EU and has been set up to concentrate on those who have perhaps not succeeded in their earlier educational life for various reasons, but would now like to try and better themselves for the future by learning new skills to facilitate improving their job prospects.

The Centre, which was opened in May 2017, was built by the SOS foundation and is very impressive and we toured the building and met some of the staff who will be helping this project to develop.  Ismail Bayramoğlu – Project Coordinator, Arif Osum – Skills and Capacity Building Specialist, Hasan Tabakci – Employment and Business Development Advisor, Akile Yűzűgűlen – Personal Counsellor.

l-r Hasan Tabakci, Ismail Bayramoğlu, Akile Yűzűgűlen, Arif Osum

We spent some time speaking to Arif and Hasan, who are very enthusiastic about the project, and we asked for information as to how the Centre would operate.  We were told that this is to be a dual learning and social Centre where young people can improve their skills for the workplace and also as a social centre where it will bring together the young people of Girne to exchange ideas and help them to blend into the community.

The Centre will also be open to the public for social activities and Arif and Hasan noted their desire to encourage foreign nationals, i.e. English, German, Russian etc. to join with them to create a multi-national community atmosphere, which will also give confidence to the local people attending the Centre.

Initially, the skills to be provided will be computer training, language courses in English, Greek and Turkish.  There will also be meditation, pilates and yoga as part of the program.   The Centre would welcome enquiries from Turkish Cypriots and expatriates who feel they could assist by introducing other classes and subjects.

We later toured the building, which is still in the throes of being set up and were told what the various rooms/areas were intended to become.  The computer room is already set up with 7 computers and desks, there is a conference room which can also be divided into 3 separate areas and a large area at one end of the building which is intended to be a cafeteria area to be run by an outside source to give a socialising area for the students and general public attending the Centre.

There is a large area at the rear of the building which will be utilised for sporting activities and also a large car park at the side of the building, which will also be available for the general public and contact by organisations or clubs which may be able to host events there would be welcomed.

This Centre is a very go-ahead initiative for the area and apart from being a social medium, its main objective is to help the youth of Girne to improve their skills and so benefit the area, to take pride in their environment and to integrate with the local community.   A very worthy project for the Girne area.

To make contact with the Centre the telephone number is 0392 815 0768 or email:

Arif Osum          –  arif.osum@soscocukkoyu.org

Hasan Tabakcı  –  hasan.tabakci@soscocukkoyu.org