Special needs school unveils its new look
Taken from this week's issue
By KEREM HASAN Chief Reporter
A MAJOR 120,000TL refurbishment of the Girne Special Needs Centre, formerly known as Karakum Special Needs Children’s School, was unveiled on Thursday.
The centre’s activity room, toilets and washroom were renovated following a fundraising campaign by the Anglo Turkish Association (ATA) of Northern Cyprus.
Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü, Figen Kaymak of the Little Society of Kyrenia, Joshua’s Woodland Adventures and Creditwest Bank were among those to attend an opening ceremony. The school cares for 33 special needs children aged between four and 17.
Previously, the classroom where the play equipment was based was in poor condition.
Making a statement at a ribboncutting ceremony on Thursday, ATA vice chairman Philip Lloyd said that they were “all here to mark the success of ATA in providing the Special Needs Children’s School with the facilities that the children desperately needed”.
He added: “Back at the start of the year when the association was asked if it could decorate the activity room, I am sure no one envisaged that what was then a simple request would turn out to be a major refurbishment project . . . a project that ended up [costing] well over 120,000TL.”
Mr Lloyd said that the ATA “fundraised like never before, which is why . . . I would like to express the association’s gratitude to the four special donors who assisted . . . with their generosity”.
He said the occasion was “about the children who will use the refurbished facilities” because “as adults, if in today’s world we cannot help our children when they are in need of help, then we all fail our responsibilities to our future generations”.
Mr Lloyd continued: “Yes, when asked for help by the local community, the Anglo Turkish Association of Northern Cyprus has stood up and again delivered. . . I say thank you to all . . . who contributed to today’s success.”
The refurbishment and handover ceremony, which had been due to take place on September 24, were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
School headteacher Özlem Dağlı Gökbulut said she was “overwhelmed” by the result.
“A sports room, which has not been used for many years, has been completely refurbished,” she said.
“A disabled toilet and wash facilities have been installed as well as a covered walkway used to access the room that will protect the children from the rain and sun.
“Having a fully equipped and refurbished sports room will promote more activity of the 33 children currently here along with future generations, and will also motivate the kids to build new skills and confidence, and to have fun.
“We wish to thank the ATA, the National Education and Culture Ministry for their contribution in ascertaining the equipment, and everyone who donated and helped our school.”
Mr Güngördü, congratulating the ATA and others involved in the refurbishment, said: “Special needs children are an important fabric of our community and they cannot be forgotten.
“We place great importance in including people with any form of disability, be it in education or in their working life, as part of society.
“Today represents a success that has come about through the cooperation of many people who showed sensitivity to social responsibility, to bettering the quality of education of our children.”
Selim Özmenek, deputy director of the government’s Primary Education Department, thanked the ATA and everyone who supported the project.
Erbil Arkın, of the Arkın University of Creative Arts and Design, said he was “proud” to have been involved in the project, which he said “will improve the education setting for our children and enable them to gain confidence and skills through activities”.