Opening Doors For The Youth of Cyprus

Helen, representing PeacePlayers at a fair in Nicosia

Helen, representing PeacePlayers at a fair in Nicosia

Today’s blog is brought to you by Leadership Development Participant Helen Partakki. Helen, along with her fellow PeacePlayers Nursu and Savvas, were selected to the Cyprus Friendship Program for this upcoming summer – a very prestigious honor.

Last summer during the PeacePlayers’ camp in Cyprus, a few participants and I were given the opportunity to experience a sweet taste of another bi-communal non-profit organisation, the Cyprus Friendship Programme (CFP). CFP is an organization of volunteers cooperating from both sides of the island, promoting peace and understanding while bringing together teenagers with future leadership potential, encouraging life-long friendships among them, and extending these friendships to their friends and families.

Nursu, center, with her PeacePlayers family!

Nursu, center, with her PeacePlayers family!

After that first contact, two of my fellow PeacePlayers teammates and I decided to apply for the CFP United States Residency Program (along with 160 other applicants  with an equal chance and hope of being selected). Fortunately, we were all interviewed and all of three of us PeacePlayers had been selected as part of the 60 teenagers participating this year!

So far we have spent our spring season getting to know each other’s  Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot cultures (although it was not difficult at all since PeacePlayers had already given us the chance to do that) and partnered up with someone from the other community with whom we will be going with to the U.S. to live with our American host family for four weeks!

The opportunity we were given from PeacePlayers to learn about this organisation was so far life changing. My Turkish-Cypriot teammate Nursu mentioned to me that, “PeacePlayers influenced me once again to try for peace and join the CFP. It is nice to know that there are people to support you when working for peace. It just makes me more confident.” Our other teammate Savvas added, “I was given the chance to play basketball with people my age from the other community by PeacePlayers and I think it would be amazing to live with one of my buddies for 4 weeks!”

Savvas, on right, at a twinning pointing to the path to greatness!

Savvas, on right, at a twinning pointing to the path to greatness!

I am convinced that by now, joining PeacePlayers was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. All teenagers keep getting challenged to become better leaders and are given life changing opportunities, but most importantly we can feel the love given to us by the PeacePlayers family running through our veins which only motivates us to work for peace in our world.

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