A total of fifty personal computers were given on Saturday to enclaved pupils and students from the Turkish-occupied Rizokarapso, who in return offered cyclamen flowers to the Minister of Education Athena Michailidou, the Chairman of the School Board of Limassol and the Limassol primary teacher’s trade union, POED Limassol.

The laptops were handed over during a special ceremony held in the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth on Saturday, as the occupying regime prohibits since last May school inspectors to enter the schools, located in Cyprus’ northeastern tip, occupied by Turkey since 1974. The enclaved pupils and students attended the ceremony, in Nicosia, escorted by their families.

“I wish we could be there, as our heart is beating there,” Michailidou said addressing the ceremony, recalling that she hails from Kyrenia and that she witnessed the displacement. “But we were not strong enough to stay there,” she added.

The Education Minister vowed that they will do their utmost to support the quality of education in the enclaved schools, noting that they have a plan in collaboration with the Education Service Commission, the School Board and Anna Aristotelous, the Head of Humanitarian Affairs of Missing and Enclaved Persons.

The children of Rizokarpaso are entitled to equal access to education, better results, opportunities and a path towards university education or anywhere they desire, Michailidou said.

On her part, Dora Sergiou, President of POED Limassol, said the computers were given to the children of Rizokarpaso as part of a wider grant to the Limassol District Education Committee by a private firm.

She added, that this donation will assist the enclaved children of Rizokarpaso in their education journey, be they primary pupils, secondary education pupils, or university students.

“We support your struggle and we want to contribute to your effort for a descent living in your ancestral homes,” Sergiou added.

Ntinos Ellinas, Chairman of the School Board of Limassol, expressed hope that others will follow the example of the private firm that granted 1,000 laptops to vulnerable students in Limassol, of which 50 were granted to Rizokarpaso pupils.

Michalis Mikellis, President of the Rizokarpaso School Board said he wished that the ceremony could take place in the schools of Rizokarpaso, so that everyone would meet the pupils and their parents.

“Unfortunately, this could not be possible due to the prohibition imposed since last May,” he added, noting that “this grant is of great significance for us.”

The fifty laptops were handed over to Rizkarpaso pupils of the 2022-2023 school year, and university students of the enclaved community for the same academic year.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey occupied 36,2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots remain in the occupied areas.

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