A weaving project is helping to close the decades-long divide between the two communities in Cyprus, with assistance from the UN mission in the country, UNFICYP.
Hande Toycan, who is Turkish-Cypriot, and Flora Hadjigeorgiou, a Greek-Cypriot, are among the many women who partner with the UN on the Mediterranean island to strengthen engagement, equality and stability. A shared bond
Ms. Toycan was born and raised in the northern city of Famagusta, and still lives there. She is a member of the Famagusta Cultural Association and studied Greek language and literature in Ankara, the cultural capital of Turkey.
Ms. Hadjigeorgiou, a retired teacher who fills her time with hobbies and other activities, is part of the Klotho Women’s Initiative.
Though coming from different communities, both women have a passion for weaving. However, neither was aware of their shared bond.
“In the beginning, our friends Mustafa and Maria who work at UNFICYP told us about the project, funded by the Dutch Embassy, and told us to apply,” said Ms. Toycan.
Bringing communities closer
UNFICYP, officially the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, has been in the country since 1964.
The mission’s “blue helmets” police and monitor a buffer zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.