Helping students to return back home

As the Federation of Turkish Cypriot Students in the UK we have reached out to the Minister of Education in North Cyprus on the 14th of March as the students (including me) were stuck in the UK because the travel ban from Cyprus came into effect. We have told them about our concerns of staying in the UK and why we do not want to stay due to the fact that our schools have been closed and online education was being implemented. Two days later we reached out to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and started the process to collect the list of names. We had hundreds of requests and had to sort out the lists with the flight operators, agency and the ministries. We also organized the quarantine hotels we were to stay when we reached Cyprus. From the 17th of March until the 21st, our days would start at 7 am and end at 4 am. The two flights left the UK on the 20th and 21st respectively and we have brought 334 students back to Cyprus. After 17 days of hotel quarantine, all of us have made it back home. During the quarantine, we acted as the middle man between the Ministries of Health, Interior, Education, the press and the students. We helped them socially by creating online sports events, meme groups, chat groups, tournaments and many more activities for them, to stay sane. We also reached out to the Psychologists Association and supplied help lines.

During the process, before leaving the UK, we wanted to help other Turkish Cypriots studying abroad as well. This was not very easy because our de-facto government has no record of who is studying where. So we have formed a "Committee of Students Studying Abroad" and reached out to students all over the world from Canada to Azerbaijan. We have helped them psychologically, organized online events, created chat groups for them to communicate with each other and are planning many more activities including online tournaments, Kahoot events and study groups. This opened the gates for the Ministry of Education to record the people and have a database of students studying abroad. We have helped the students abroad to claim benefits from the government while they stayed abroad. We have also assisted them to get help packages from Turkish Cypriots in their respective countries. After the quarantine, a friend and I have reached out to postgraduate and graduates of Economics, Finance, Tourism and related subjects, to form Economics Ideas Committee which acts to assist the Cabinet of Ministers and take the right steps so our economy does not collapse after the pandemic. We have held numerous long-lasting online meetings and sent our notes to the related ministries. It did have some effects on certain key government decisions. We are still continuing to meet and help as much as we can.

With another association I am part of; we reached out to the medicine students and coordinated them to be ready in case there are a lot of patients. With some friends we have gathered dozens of young people to be ready to take over the workload in case the municipalities are in need of human-power because their elder workers are a risk group. I have been contacted by some distribution charities to help distribute food to the people in need. We have distributed dozens of help packages. We contacted the foreign students that study in North Cyprus to assist and help them with their needs, because they were left out from the initial pandemic economic plan of the government. All the work that we do is voluntary and non-profit. The appreciation we receive is the greatest gift.



Using social media to motivate youngsters

My name is Kristi, I am 18 years old and I am the video producer of JA Alumni Albania. I have participated in the company program, where I learned a lot about entrepreneurship. Since the first day of quarantine I focused on well organizing my spare time and improving my entrepreneurial skills. One of these days, I decided to create a brand that was going to hold my name. I wanted to share thoughts and talk about entrepreneurship, motivation and self development, with my peers.

My first step was publishing a video on Instagram, where I gave some advices on how to be productive during quarantine. I received a very good feedback and this motivated me even more. This encouraged me to do something even greater and useful for my audience. Keeping in mind that some of my peers aren’t motivated, although ambitious on establishing their own businesses, I finally deiced to create “LIVEME”, which in English is translated as “Live with”. After planning and organizing for 1 week and a half, I started going live on Instagram with successful Albanian entrepreneurs. My target audience remained Albanian youngsters, and since the majority of them are regular users of Instagram, I decided to use this platform.  All of them have the chance to pose questions to all the guest I invite on LIVEME and this makes the interviews even more effective, friendly and attractive. Later I publish all my interviews on my Youtube channel, so everybody can access them. My goal has always been offering real success stories and encouraging youngsters to work hard and persevere in their dreams, because everything is possible.

The difficulties I went through and the sleepless nights were totally worth it. The first live stream had 400 views and it kept increasing in the following ones. A lot of youngsters have thanked me for the free knowledge we offered them and for boosting their motivation.

This pandemic has plagued the world, but not our minds. We will keep on using this time to learn more and improve ourselves every day.


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