On the occasion of World Refugee today which is marked on June 20 every year, UNHCR Cyprus has shared a video of unaccompanied asylum-seeking teenagers here making face masks for refugees and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
In its post on Facebook, UNHCR notes that underage asylum seekers, who for various reasons, such as war and persecution, have lost or have been separated from their families, live in shelters around the island.
“Once they come of age, they must leave the shelters and fend for themselves as young adults, many without the necessary language skills or any vocational training. None of these children have any family network to support them through this transition,” it adds.
In an initiative led by the Occupational Therapy Programme of the European University Cyprus – Bridging Occupational Gaps with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, some of these youngsters are volunteering to sew facemasks together with students from the Programme who are on practical placements.
Through this experience, the asylum-seeking children get an opportunity to give something back to the host society, while also learning valuable skills that can help them in their transition into adult life. The facemasks will be given to refugees and other vulnerable groups in Cyprus, such as the elderly, in collaboration with local authorities and organisations such as the Πολυδύναμο Δημοτικό Κέντρο Λευκωσίας Official.
“Everyone can make a difference. Every action counts,” UNHCR concluded.