“We stand together against Covid 19”
The Turkish Covid 19 Support Initiative comes to you with an unpresented success story of how London’s Turkish Cypriot charities, religious groups, businesses and volunteers have come together to ensure that NO vulnerable, disabled or elderly member of our community are left alone during the covid 19 pandemic.
On the 18th of March 2020, five days before lockdown, Turkish groups in London declared a proclamation;
"That moment represented the birth of the initiative, and daily help in the form of; daily food runs, weekly shopping help, meals through Ramadan, pharmacy collection, emergency help line, advice line, care support, religious guidance, support the purchase of body bags for the deceased, support with covid 19 tests for front line staff, support to three hospitals, baklava deliveries to three care homes, platform of an online social media support page and a thank you production through a digital rendition of a Bob Marley classic “One Love” not only aims to uplift spirits, but to also raise awareness of multiple good causes that aim to raise funds for food runs,the NHS and funerals from within the Turkish Cypriot community which has been particularly hard hit over this traumatic period.
We do feel that this is an exceptional story that we should shout about, we feel this story needs to be shared with our peers. The amazing story of Turkish Cypriots coming together to help those most in need. Cyprus Today is the world’s most respected printed and online Turkish Cypriot (written English written) media platform and as such would provide a perfect opportunity to share this story.
Two of our Initiative leaders Erim Metto JP (Chief Executive of Turkish Cypriot Community Association and head of the Initiative) and Hussain Hashim Bakayi Mustafa (Head of Cyprus Islamic Association) would be more than happy to discuss further if you wish appear and would urge that they are contacted via 07753570704.
Over the past three months, 11 charities led by Turkish Cypriot Community Association (the Largest Turkish Charity in the UK) together with Cyprus Islamic Association, CATI, UK Turkish Islamic Trust (UKTIT), Edmonton Fazilet Mosque, Kibrisli Yardimlasma Gurubu, Edible London, Haven for the Homeless, Kaotic Angels LEMC UK Nomads, TCCUK and Euro Genc TV. Have stood together to ensure that no person need is left isolated and alone.
Through their extensive network of local community figures, religious leaders and incredibly generous volunteers, the initiative has responded to the needs of their benefactors with speed, agility and, most admirably, heart – perhaps driven by numbers which suggest the Turkish community is being hit harder by the virus than other BAME groups. Ethnic minorities make up just 13% of the UK population, yet constitute 1 in 3 critically ill Covid-19 patients; this has led to urgency on the part of the charity to ensure those at risk are well looked after whilst taking the necessary isolation precautions, in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
With lockdown looking increasingly likely, the Initiative, instead of flattening the curve, got ahead of it by setting up a dedicated telephone line for those in need: the elderly, or those with underlying health issues who have been advised to stay home indefinitely. It’s through this system that, for weeks now, they’ve been providing crucial care, emergency support and guidance – whether directing individuals towards the correct place for testing, providing advice or seeking further assistance in an emergency situation when the person in need is unable to do so.
It’s pertinent to remember that this isn’t solely a physical battle, but one with psychological repercussions too. As such, one of the charity’s key initiatives was launched: a befriending system, whereby volunteers are matched with an at-risk individual to provide them with comfort, support and, at the end of it all, a friendly voice to turn to in times of struggle. Among their number are qualified therapists, helping to mitigate the inevitable mental health issues which many are experiencing throughout the evolving pandemic; loneliness, fear, anxiety.
The Covid-19 Turkish support page on Facebook provides a safe space and online community where people can share resources, news, local updates and questions. Furthermore, the Initiative is delivering essential packs to the homes of the vulnerable, including items such as eggs, bread and toilet paper, last week alone 460 food packs were delivered.
The circumstances we’re all currently coming to terms with are unprecedented, not to mention frightening for some – even more so when there’s a language barrier in play. The work of the Initiative is vital for so many, be it translating difficult concepts to Turkish or simply acting on their behalf to ensure they receive the care they need.
Of course, ask any of the 58 volunteers they all say “we are just doing our bit for Turkish Cypriots living in the UK”.
From weekly TV programming to give the community fact-based, professional opinions and advice, to providing in excess of food packs to hospitals, care homes and sheltered housing units. The widespread kindness and generosity of the Initiative transcends the Turkish Cypriots residents of London, far reaching into the hearts and minds of those surrounding them. From day one they’ve been at the forefront, spreading messages of kindness through both the aid they’ve supplied and the reassurance they’ve provided, both on and offline, to so many.
In more recent weeks the project has also started to look after Turkish Cypriot students stranded in the UK due to the borders of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus being closed. It’s organisations like the Initiative which keep our vulnerable safe, our communities connected and our country moving in times of hardship.
Covid 19 Turkish Cypriot Covid 19 Support initiative."