Started in 2004, the North Cyprus Friends of Karpaz Association is comprised of local residents and other interested parties who wish to protect the much coveted Karpaz region in North Cyprus. For many years now the area has been a valuable home to the traditional rural way of Cypriot life as well as the islands most ecologically diverse landscape. Friends of Karpaz will do its best to keep it just that way.
In conjunction with the Management Centre, an NGO organisation involved in helping civil society, members were sought from local areas within the Karpaz to help launch the association. Their mission was to create more awareness of the historical, environmental and also the cultural richness of the region. The awareness factor is not just focussed locally either and is equally aimed at an international level through lobbying and advocating of this truly diverse area.
As an association they are also non profit making, certainly non-political and are determined to influence the powers that be that there is room for sustainable rural development which can benefit North Cyprus as a whole. Many holiday makers the world over are now looking for unique and culturally rich holiday experiences and Friends of Karpaz aim to provide for that, whilst also convincing local authorities that there is a market out there.
The association isn’t just about eco-tourism in North Cyprus either, it also aims to help and provide for the local community. Sadly in these rural and more remote areas, people are leaving to find work in larger towns and cities due to shortages in local employment. Friends of Karpaz aims to help in different ways such as providing alternatives in crop farming for example or introducing activities which involve and help support women and the younger generations.
Local community events are also another away of involving the community with initiatives such as tree planting which have proved to be very successful. Festivals, such as the North Cyprus Büyükknouk Eco-Festival, and the promotion of all things associated with Turkish Cypriot culture such as folk dancing, crafts, cuisine and local skills are also something which the association is keen to promote which would also benefit the local community.
The ultimate future aim is to open a Karpaz Cultural centre where anyone from locals to holidaymakers can visit to find out more about the local flora and fauna, future events being held and much more. Together with fund raising and donations from organisations such as the UNDP (United Nations Development Projects), which has afforded them enough money to open an office in Pamuklu village.
Again other aims are to open more traditional style pensions, small bed and breakfasts offering more traditional accommodation providing menus with locally grown produce that will help to promote local culture and to further protect the environment from pollution created by the larger hotel complexes.
There are many more groups and charities in North Cyprus, all aiming in their own way to protect the beauty and uniqueness of this wonderful place on earth, and you can read about most of them by clicking the link above!