The Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works informs the public that on Wednesday, 13 April 2022, activities were organised at the archaeological site of Choirokoitia, in collaboration with the Cyprus Autism Association, within the framework of the initiative titled “Living with the Archaeological Heritage”, and Autism Awareness Month. The initiative was implemented with the participation of the Intervention Centres operated by the Cyprus Autism Association in the districts of Lefkosia, Larnaka and Lemesos, offering services to adults in the autism spectrum.
The activities included drawings, paintings, collage- and pottery-making, the creation of which, by autistic adults, was accompanied by laughter and joy; all of them were inspired by this important UNESCO World Heritage Site. These activities provided them the means to unfold their multifaceted talents and showed to us all that disability is not inability, but diversity. The archaeological site therefore became a creative place where our fellow citizens cultivated their abilities and developed their imagination, triggered by our cultural and natural heritage.
This initiative is part of the policy of the Department of Antiquities for equal inclusion and participation of the entire society in cultural heritage. The State is obliged to work for the common good in order to demonstrate that diversity is in fact normality. Cultural Heritage, as the result of varying cultural traits within a vast temporal and spatial spectrum, is the most suitable starting-point for all the actions we must put forward aiming at the elimination of past stereotypes in order to finally accept social diversity. It is important to remember that we are all parts of a complex cultural mosaic and that social change can be achieved only if we manage to show respect towards all members of the society, primarily our fellow men and women with visible and invisible disabilities.
The Department of Antiquities wishes to express its gratitude to the special teachers and caregivers of the Cyprus Autism Association for the collaboration, advice and enthusiasm, as well as to the members of the Parents Association of Choirokoitia who embraced the initiative and offered delicacies. It also warmly thanks the archaeologist of the site, Dr Odile Le Brun, of the French Archaeological Mission, who also participated and supported the event. Change can be achieved only if we all operate together as one team, while our cultural heritage can be preserved and fulfill its social role through the participation of the entire community.
Finally, the Department of Antiquities takes this opportunity to inform all organisations and associations for people with various disabilities to contact the director in case they wish to enjoy a similar activity at a heritage site, monument or museum.