Charities and Associations

The Soulist “Friends Across Borders” apply for Stelios Award 2019

The project Friends Across Borders applied for the Stelios Award 2019 with the highlight of the FAB Festival from 27th to 29th September at the Soulist in Alsancak/Karavas in aid of “Help Those with Cancer Association (TULIPS)“.

Alper Cengiz

“Friends Across Borders (FAB)“ – For the second time musicians from both sides of Cyprus will be coming together on one stage in North Cyprus, following the invitation of the founder of this project, Roland Eyerich (German Blues & Rock DJ from Bayrak International). The motive for Roland is his former education as a social worker and social pedagogue that he is committed to the Ethos of Social Work to overcoming borders and building bridges against fears and breaking down prejudices in the divided Island of Cyprus with music. Very successful for this project is the pathos for music of the Turkish musician and friend Alper Cengiz (The owner of The Soulist Coffee and Music House in Alsancak). With the help of his musical competence and his personal commitment, this cross-border and bi-communal project has become possible. He is also convinced that music can also contribute to cultural understanding. 

For the first time a band from the former divided country of Germany and former divided City of Berlin will be supporting this project on the 28th September this year.

In this “Friends Across Borders project” the main actors in Blues and Rock, Reggae, Jazz, and classic will be musicians from both parts of this divided island. In addition to this social cultural project, the musicians have agreed that the proceeds of the charity tickets should be donated to “Help Those with Cancer Association (TULIPS)”.

The theme for the event is “Cancer and Music have no Boundaries“. The music has its price but for great objectives. The objectives: to get Friends Across Borders on the one hand and to generate good proceeds for TULIPS on the other hand.

Worldwide the number of patients being diagnosed with cancer is increasing, including in Cyprus. The Tulips Association is assisting 1,800 cancer patients at the moment and they are receiving approximately 600 – 700 new cancer patients every year. The Association is not just for local Cypriot people, TULIPS helps anyone in North Cyprus with cancer. 

Stelios – The Bi-communal Awards in Cyprus

The Stelios Bi-communal Awards have been in operation on the island of Cyprus since 2009. The idea is to encourage bi-communal cooperation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots in order to promote lasting peace on the island. Each team involving one Greek-Cypriot and one Turkish-Cypriot. The awards are announced at a ceremony in Nicosia in October each year. Representatives for the FAB-project are the two musicians – Charis. J. Anderson – Blind Man`s Tale (South Cyprus) and Ed Sezener – Stingray (North Cyprus).  Many other musicians from both parts of Cyprus support FAB. If they are not prevented, they will also actively participate in the FAB festival. 

Roland and Musicians from both sides of Cyprus apply with the social project “Friends Across Borders“ for the Stelios Bi-communal Awards 2019. This year again the project is in aid of Help Those with Cancer Association TULIPS which is being held for the second time. The Motto/Theme: “Cancer and Music have no Boundaries“. The FAB-Concert/Festival will be on the 27th, 28th and 29th of September in Alsancak/Karavas (North Cyprus).

The first concert held in 2018, brought together musicians in the Blues and Rock Scene, after nearly 44 years, without issues playing in the North.  There had been almost 3 years of preparation. There are no prejudices, especially among young people and also musicians. It must be continued.

It is the idea behind this festival to promote above all young artists and to further the “European concept” by overcoming mental borders, be free of prejudices and characterised by mutual respect without fear. The coexistence of the two communities is the aim without prejudice, hatred and boundaries in the minds. Music has no boundaries.

Necessary information about Kanser Hastalarına Yardım Derneği – also known as Tulips (Help Those with Cancer Association) – in North Cyprus. That is why musicians with the FAB project support this Cancer Association.

The Association was 25 years old in May 2019 and was set up simply because there was no Oncology unit, a unit that specialises in cancer treatment and care, within the State Hospital in North Cyprus. The Association was set up by Raziye Kocaismail (Cyprus) and she is still the Head of the Association. The Association now employs 6 personnel who are directly linked with helping cancer patients at the Lefkosa State Hospital. As well as 5 teams of care nurses who go around the Oncology wards and also visit cancer patients at home.  There is a doctor who gives talks on how to look after yourself and how to spot the first signs of cancer.

Also there is The Umut Centre (or Hope Centre) – the Association cares for children as well as adults, and the Umut Centre is somewhere that children with cancer can go to meet other children who are going through similar experiences. They have teachers calling in to give basic education so that these children do not get too behind in their studies. There are also music teachers that donate their time to teach children to play a musical instrument, Music Therapy has been proved to help children undergoing cancer treatment; it can make them feel good, it can create a calming and relaxing environment and it also encourages children to communicate.

The aims of the Association are very important to the quality of life of cancer patients, these are:

  • To improve the lives of everyone living with cancer
  • To raise awareness of cancer in North Cyprus
  • To strive for better cancer care in North Cyprus

Until the government in North Cyprus take responsibility for looking after their own citizens who are ill with cancer, Tulips as a cancer charity will have to continue fighting every month to ensure that cancer patients receive the care that they need.

It is the Association’s work that set up the Oncology Unit and it is the Association’s fund raising activities that are paying for patient support.

There are many examples of how the Association supports cancer patients. After receiving a pathology report the Association pays for blood tests, scans etc. After a cancer patient has had an operation, the Association will help, for example by providing a voice machine to enable patients with cancer of the larynx to communicate again. By providing silicon breasts following a mastectomy, providing wigs, walking frames, wheelchairs, special mattresses, air beds, electronic oxygen systems etc. They also provide transport for patients if needed, home to hospital and back, free of charge.

There is no support in North Cyprus for Children with Leukaemia so all patients have to go to Turkey for their treatment. On average their treatment takes approximately 1 year. The family has to find the costs for transport, accommodation and treatment, money for eating and drinking, as well as paying bills for electricity and water! The Association will help the patient’s family as much as they can, for instance helping to pay the rent if the parents are having to rent accommodation to stay with their child while it has treatment in Turkey, as well as helping with air fares etc.

There is much help given by the Association to the expatriate community in North Cyprus including English speaking support and information, the translation of reports, help with medication and counselling as well as help with financial costs where appropriate.

The cost of treatment in North Cyprus can vary dependent upon which type of cancer is diagnosed, but to give some idea: Patients who have to have radiotherapy can expect to pay on average 5,000 Turkish Lira for a course of treatment at the Oncology Unit at Lefkosa State Hospital, it costs a lot more to have this treatment at a private hospital.

Patients who need to have chemotherapy can expect to pay somewhere in the region of 600 Turkish Lira per treatment, it can be much more expensive in the case of some types of cancer because of the high cost of chemotherapy drugs.

Costs have risen tremendously, one year ago the Association needed 110,000 Turkish Lira every month to cover its running costs but at the present time the Association needs 208,000 Turkish Lira every single month to continue with its work.