Chronia Polla, Mutly Yillar, a Happy New Year to everyone from PeacePlayers-Cyprus! Everyone at the PPI-CY office is excited to start a brand new year full of innovative initiatives and some amazing projects!
Leading the way will be the 2011 twinning program, set to launch Saturday, January 29th. In each of our twinnings, one of our school teams hosts 2 teams from across the “buffer zone,” the UN-administered line that divides the island, for a day of fun basketball games followed by a meal. Some of the kids are excited to see old friends from the last year, while others will be crossing for the very first time.
Next, PPI-CY is excited to announce that it will begin working with ZEP (Zone for Educational Priority) Schools in Limassol again. ZEP schools are multicultural schools for underprivileged children that focus on keeping their students in class and off the streets.
Last year, we held basketball practices at the Agios Antonios 18th Elementary and High Schools and even painted a PeacePlayers mural. This year we are expanding to include the Agios Antonios 4th School as well, leading the PE classes there with basic basketball and conflict resolution drills.
In the summer, we are planning some big events to include both schools, such as an all day sports festival that will include volleyball, squash, judo, tae kwon do, archery, and weightlifting, and a water sports day that will include sailing and kayaking. It will be an amazing opportunity for these children and is sure to be a lot of fun.
PPI-CY is also excited to announce that it will move offices this spring to the Home for Cooperation, a renovated office building located in the Ledra Palace Buffer Zone. The new building is a project organized by the Cyprus Association for Historical Dialogue that will house several bicommunal non-profits. The Ledra Palace Buffer Zone, located in the heart of Cyprus’ capital city of Nicosia, is a place where people from both communities can cross. It is one of the only areas on the island where Greek and Turkish-Cypriots can meet on equal terms. We are also working to hopefully make this the site of a new PPI-CY basketball court in the coming year. A new office and court in the buffer zone are more than convenient, they are essential to the impact we ultimately hope to make.
In addition, PPI-CY will participate in the opening ceremonies for the Home for Cooperation the first weekend of May. The Ceremonies will be a 3-day fair with music, food, and discussions of the history of the Cyprus problem. PPI-CY will have its annual end-of-the-year tournament on the second day of the event. This is a great opportunity to engage a very broad swath of Cypriot society, including politicians, teachers, childen and other organizations in our work.
Lastly, PPI-CY in partnership with US Embassy is organizing two bicommunal overnight summer camps where Turkish- and Greek-Cypriot children will cross the buffer zone to spend a week together, playing basketball and building friendships. PPI-CY is very excited to help make this amazing opportunity possible for these kids.
2011 is sure to be a busy and fantastic year for PPI-CY!