Kyrenia Youth and Resource Centre (GIGEM) – Ideas Meeting

By Margaret Sheard ……

On Tuesday 25th July we went along to the Kyrenia Youth and Resource Centre (GIGEM) in Girne to a meeting which had been set up for people to attend and give their ideas and views to help the community and youth of the area and what the Centre can do to achieve this.

Arif Osum opened the meeting and welcomed those attending.  The meeting was in the Turkish language so Chris and I were at a bit of a disadvantage, however, Oya Kutsal very kindly sat alongside me and interpreted what was being discussed.   Arif thanked for the article which had already been published about the Centre, to read this click here

In attendance at the meeting was MP Zeki Çeler (TDP), other interested parties, and the Centre team.   Many issues were discussed regarding the lack of facilities in the Girne area for young people, such as meeting places where they could congregate, it was noted that  there are such places in Lefkoşa but Girne has very little to offer its community in this direction.  In Turkey there are many socialising cafes where people meet up to chat and exchange ideas.

The Centre has an open space at the rear of the building and the team are hoping to make this into a recreation area for all of the community to enjoy but in order to develop this, sponsors will be required to help with financing.

Gűnperi Sisman commented on the lack of open spaces in Girne, such as parks.  During a later short break for refreshments, I spoke with Gűnperi and she told me she spent 3 years studying and working in London where she lived near to Regents Park, and this is the type of facility that is missing in the Girne area where people can enjoy open spaces without having to travel miles out of the town.

Zeki Çeler spoke for a long period and the point he was putting across was that there is a multicultural community in the Girne area and there should be a desire to bring together these different cultures and nationalities.  One comment he made was he felt there should be some facility for people to be able to bring their dogs along, such as a compound where they could be housed.  There was a lot of laughter at this suggestion but again this is another aspect of allowing people to attend various functions without the worry of leaving their pets at home for long periods.

It was suggested that teachers should be encouraged to come along and give tuition in correct Turkish and English to give confidence to the young people who maybe are lacking in correct grammar in these languages.  Teaching to give good speaking and enterprise abilities and then the young people could make their own radio shows in the centre where they would be able to practice what they have learned.

There are intellectual meetings held in Lefkoşa and these are well attended but in Girne if a similar type of meeting was being held, no-one would attend and this needs to be addressed.  There is a need for the Centre team to go out and visit schools and explain what the Centre offers. Young people will not attend unless an effort is made to persuade them to come and join in.

At one point during the evening, Arif mentioned Chris Elliott and Margaret Sheard, with whom he had recently made contact, and thanked them for their interest and promotion of the Centre through their online website

Another suggestion to bring young people to the Centre would be to have film shows.  This also brought up the question of transport, especially from the outlying areas of Girne, where there is a lack of transportation and even in the Girne area where in the evening it is difficult to get into Girne or local areas due to lack of transportation and of course young people cannot afford to pay for taxis.

A further suggestion was to have a Youth Festival to encourage young people to come along and join together as a community.  This type of event would need to be widely publicised and would involve a great deal of organisation.

The meeting concluded and the Centre team now have many aspects to consider.  It was a well arranged meeting and although we were not able to follow the language, it was nice to see that the people who attended put forward some very sensible comments and ideas for the Centre to consider.