Empowering Women for Peace in Famagusta
Sıdıka Özdoğan and Şenay Eyüpoğlu from the Mağusa Kadın Merkezi Derneği (Makamer) or the Famagusta Women’s Centre have devoted their energies to raising awareness about the issues faced by women in their community.
“Women across the world consistently face unique issues, including gender-based violence. Cyprus is no exception to this rule. Having spent most of my career in the social welfare field, I realized that Cypriot women lack formal structures that can provide them with the psycho-social support they need. This is what motivates me to actively work towards empowering them every day,” says Ms. Özdoğan.
The Centre also provides training and skill-building opportunities for women to produce and sell handicrafts in an effort to economically empower them. “Many of us learn basic handicrafts through our families when we are very young. At the Centre, we try and harness already existing capacities among women and train them in ways by which they can monetize their knowledge of crafts. Economic independence for every woman is, in my opinion, the first step towards a world free of violence against women,” states Ms. Eyüpoğlu.
The Centre deals with a fair share of challenges every day. “We have been trying to cobble together enough funds to open a women’s shelter for those who have suffered violence or trauma; however, it remains a dream. We really need people and leaders to support our work – I live in hope that the needs of Cypriot women, for empathy, empowerment and support, will be heard and met sooner rather than later,” reveals Ms. Özdoğan.