Day 38: Bus Y: Paphos

1 June 2018

On our last day, the bus took us to 2 day-centres for elderly people in Paphos. These are run jointly by an association and the municipality, and offer creative activities, cultural visits, physiotherapy etc. 1 is enjoyed by locals and the other more by people internally displaced because of the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. The prevailing point we heard was the desire to return home. Another fear when talking about applying for welfare support was that they would lose their savings.

Paphos is very tourism-geared and has been beautifully developed since being European Cultural Capital 2017. We met with councillors from the Mayor’s office, who were sceptical about minimum income – citing lack of sure targeting, tourist season work, and shock adapting to problems after the financial crisis of 2013 hit Cyprus and austerity measures came into force. After explaining the criteria and process of how a minimum income scheme should work, they signed our petition!

After a home-cooked lunch in another adult centre – empty as the visitors take their lunch from there to their homes to rest afterwards – we visited two schools. The schools are run by an association, partly funded by the municipality, and offer after-school homework classes and activities. After the meetings, our EAPN Cyprus colleagues realised even more the need for a system of all-day schools to enable parents, mostly mothers, to seek work. One has 85 children and 13 nationalities, and a priority system for children from refugee families; minimum income recipients etc. We were touched to get a lovely card made for us by a pupil there.

Page 18 of our petition was reached at the castle at the harbour, reaching out to international tourists and locals there who were very receptive. Our Cypriot colleagues treated us to a round of songs at dinner to celebrate the bus tour’s close. Thank you for the brilliant hospitality, amazing number of actors we met and excellent organisation! We are happy to provide an outside view and learn so much about the situation here, and are proud we achieved TV coverage on all channels!

Over all the days, we heard from many beneficiaries who told us of their issues with the implementation of the minimum income scheme, and EMIN Cyprus will be providing a context report.emin-cyprus-eapn-27