Revitalising renovated spaces through Cultural Activities

What is the project about

Photo puzzle of cultural activities implemented in villagesThanks to small EU funded grants of up to 7,000 EUR, we trained more than 400 local craftswomen and men, from different villages and towns in the northern part of Cyprus, to become handicrafts entrepreneurs.

Since 2001, the EU-financed UNDP-Partnership for the Future Programme has been working in Cyprus to support the economic and social development of the Turkish Cypriot Community through community development, rehabilitation and infrastructure projects in the walled cities of Nicosia and Famagusta as well as in 11 villages and small towns in the northern part of Cyprus. The aim was to improve the quality of life of the residents, make the cities more attractive for both residents and visitors, while preserving the important cultural and urban heritage of the island.

To complement these projects, on 19 December 2012, UNDP-PFF launched a Call for Proposals for Innovative Cultural Activities to be organized in locations where urban upgrading projects had previously been implemented. The Call was open to not-for-profit organizations based in Cyprus.

The general objective of the Call was to support the residents and local communities of the renovated areas in hosting and promoting innovative cultural programmes that are linked to Cypriot cultural traditions but at the same time propose innovative approaches that promote social inclusion and community participation.

What have we accomplished so far

Applicants could choose to implement their activities either in small towns and villages were urban upgrading projects had previosuly been implemented (Group A) or in the two Bandabuliya of Nicosia and Famagusta (Group B). All projects were funded by the European Union through UNDP-PFF with small grants of up to 7000 EUR for Group A and up to 5000 EUR for Group B.

The projects allowed for the identification of new opportunities for culture, handicrafts and the sectors associated with it to be both drivers and enablers of urban revitalization.

  • 17 projects selected
  • 178 workshops/events implemented between March and October 2013.
  • More than 5400 participants
  • of which 900 were women.

The selected NGOs and their projects are listed below.

CAMSEV Floklor Dance FestivalCAMSEV Folklor Dance Festival, April 2013 UNDP Photo

CAMSEV proposed Folklor Festivals as drivers of local developement and cultural tools to strengthen local identity and community development.



Amber Unuz at the project completionceremonyAmber Unuz at the project completion ceremony, UNDP Photo, July 2013

Amber Onuz and the women of the Kythrea/Kytreia Değirmenlik Sanat Derneği have been translating the endemic plants of their region into art. They have been meeting everyday for 6 months to prepare bags, aprons and other handicrafts decorated with handmade flowers reproductions. The produce of the trainings are now exposed and for sale in a new dedicated space in the village.100 daily Embroidery workshops on endemic plants were organised.





Traditional Cypriot embroideryCyprus traditional Lefkara Lace making, April 2013, UNDP Photo

Empowering Women Through Handicrafts - This project was carried out byThe Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Social Life Association. 74 women were trained weekly for 90 hours on traditional Cypriot handicrafts, endemic plants, entrepreneurship and marketing. 33 Handicrafts workshops were organised.



Gonendere Association of Culture & ArtTheater as a tool to reflect on urban-rural migration, July 2013, Gonendere Association of Culture & Art Photo

The Gonendere Association of Culture & Art,  through its “Revival of Memories through Cypriot Folklore Theater” project, involved 62 villagers in the writing and mise-en-scene of a collective meta-reflection and story-telling of contemporary village-life and youth-migration problems and toured three neighboring villages. 4 theater preformance in three different villages.


The Weaving House ProjectThe Weaving House Project, May 2013, UNDP Photo

Through HASDER's Weaving House Project 12 unemployed women living in rural areas were trained on how to produce simple traditional products, such as towels or handkerchiefs, using modern Hand Weaving Looms purchased thanks to a previous EU grant. Looms presentation were also carried out in other villages in the northern part of Cyprus. 16 trainings were organised.

Once upon a timeOnce Upon a Time drawing UNDP Photo

"A drawn picture provides us insight on an individual's inner world"; through KAYAD's Once Upon a Time project Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots illustrate the homes they lived in in the past based on their memories.

The women of the knit-art cooperative The women of the knit-art cooperative "Sisters", September 2013, UNDP Photo

The Knit-Art project implemented by Mc Mediterranean with Ayten Huseyin brought together 40 women from 3 different villages in the northern part of Cyprus under the umbrella of a newly created knitting cooperative called Sisters.Three knitting machines were donated by the EU through UNDP-PFF to each participating village to allow cooperative's members to continue their production after project completion. 12 trainings were organised.


children from St. Maron Elementary School worked with their grandparents and parents to re-create their old village lifeFor the Festival closing event children from St. Maron Elementary School worked with their grandparents and parents to re-create their old village life.

The Kormakitis Green Festival organised by the Maronite Welfare Foundation aimed at promoting the natural beauty of the area by engaging the maronite community, especially young people,in cultural activities which would help them discover and preserve the sourranding natural resources. A film festival, a painting and photo exhibition were also organised.



Turkish Cypriot Philarmonic OrchestraTurkish Cypriot Philarmonic Orchestra

The Turkish Cypriot Philarmonic Orchestra organised three concerts in three different villages with the aim of bringing rural communities closer to polyphonic music.



Terra Cotta exhibition bedestanALASHIA TERRA-COTTA ART SOCIETY final exhibition at the Bedestan. UNDP Photo/Hüseyin Sayıl

Alashia Terra-Cotta Art Society led by Ayhatun Atesin has conducted 3 terra-cotta workshops at the Nicosia Bandabuliya during April-June 2013 teaching adults and kids how to reproduce traditional fountains of Nicosia into ceramic arts and asking children to get inspired by the Bandabuliya in the production of their art pieces.


cancer patients handicraftsThe produce of these workshop are sold in the association's handicrafts center.

The Cancer Patients Help Association organised a series of Handcrafts & Embroidery training at the Nicosia's Bandabuliya.The training provided an example of social integration for persons affected by cancer, and create new space for sharing of experiences and cancer prevention through handicraft. 21 three-hours-long handicrafts and embroidery workshops targeting cancer patients in Nicosia, and  3 workshops in Galinoporni/Kaleburnu. 43 women were trained in Nicosia and 30 in Galinoporni/Kaleburnu.

hasder wood carving workshops bandabuliyaWood Carving at the Bandabuliya, June 2013 UNDP Photo

Under the slogan "Bandabuliya is calling us!" HASDER organised weekly wood carving,silk cocoon, and basket weaving workshop at the Bandabuliya. The main aim was to call on Cypriots to become part of the re-birth of this old market not just as a market space but as a laboratory and hive for new traditional Cypriot crafts ideas. 16 free workshops and demonstrations were organised.





MAGEM photo exhibitionEnvironmetal Photo Exhibition at the Bandabuliya of Famagusta

MAGEM: Environmental awareness to understand our environment and the importance of its protection explained in an easy way to children and youth through painting and photo contests, and the set up of environment cafe. 5 educational and environmental awareness events carried out at the Bandbauliya targeting children (photo and painting competition). More than 200 children involved.


hand decorated pumkinPumpkin decoration is a very popular craft technique Cyprus

Hand painted Cypriot pumkin, silk cocoons, needles and yarns can turn into a fun way of passing down crafts traditions. Magusa Kultur Derneği's workshop led by a group of dedicated teachers at the Famagusta Bandabuliya, targeted children because "the only way for traditional craftskills to survive is to make our children love them". 80 women and 60 children were trained.


bandabuliyaf famagusta turns into women centerThe Old Market of Famagusta renovated thanks to EU funds in 2006 has now reopened as a Women Cultural Center

"When Traditions Meets Innovation" by large one of the most successful projects in the Famagusta Bandabuliya. It started as a crafts training project targeting 30 unemployed women from Famgusta, it ended with the participation of more than 130 women and the rehabilitation of the Bandabuliya (Old Market) into a Women cultural Centre. Read more



Bandabuliya Shopping BagBandabuliya Shopping Bag. UNDP Photo

The Bandabuliya Shopping Bag Project - The bag has been jointly designed and produced by the Bandabuliya shopkeepers and the NGO Support Centre. The bag can be purchased at the Bandabuliya of Nicosia for 20TL or 7,50 Euro. The money earned from the bags will be used for the production of the next set of bags and for the sustainability of the market.




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