Nicosia Dignity Centre Mark 1, Cyprus

05/09/19

A service that is needed in Nicosia

From April 2019 to August 2021, we created and developed a pioneering new service for the many refugees and asylum seekers who were struggling to break out of a poverty trap.

We called it the Dignity Centre which was much more than a drop-in centre. It was a place of hope. Somewhere they could start thinking about forging a new life far from home. And perhaps most important of all, reminding them that they are not forgotten and that people do care.

Covid-19 and our ever-expanding list of services from the Centre meant that we had to focus. This is about what we did from April 2019 to August 2021. Have a look also at how we reimagined the Centre for a new start in September 2021.

Dignity Centre Nicosia

Just 2 months after arriving in Cyprus, we opened the Dignity Centre.


We completely renovated a 3-story building in the centre of Nicosia, close to other essential services, with new plumbing, electricity, internet, air conditioning, redecoration, furniture and fittings. We continued to upgrade and redecorate the building to make it as welcoming as possible.

All refugees and asylum seekers were welcome and free to use the Centre.

The Dignity helped people to:

1. FIND EMPLOYMENT

  • Professionally run English and Greek language classes every week with qualified local teachers
  • Computer skills classes for 6 people every month
  • We helped 5-10 people every week write their CVs
  • We shipped in bicycles, repair them and have distributed over 200 to help people get fit and get work

2. EARN AN INCOME

  • A busy sewing workshop for over 30 men and women to learn new skills and make money from items they produce
  • We sell those fantastic items through our online shop Refumade
  • This sits at the heart of the Centre

3. COMBAT HUNGER

  • When Covid stopped us providing breakfast for 75 people every morning we set up food bank for 200 people

4. RESTORE DIGNITY

  • We had a popular Barber service every Friday when 12 men could get their hair cut and our 3 barbers were learning a new trade
  • Showers and washing machines open every day for people to feel fresh
  • Monthly hygiene packs for 85 women

5. SPEND TIME WITH OTHERS

  • A comfortable space to relax, shelter from the weather, and have fun
  • Organised football tournaments twice a week for 18 keen footballers

6. HELP THE HOST COMMUNITY TOO

  • We bought what the refugees needed locally, in turn supporting the local economy—and building crucial bridges between local people and the new arrivals

“We know that this is something that has been created for us. In Dignity, I have found a family.” Rodrigue from Cameroon

Meet some of the Members and how we were working together in this video from June 2020.

See how we reimagined the Centre for a new start in September 2021.