CYPRUS: Village Voices, Sustainability & Identity in Rural Cyprus

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Update 13th January 2021: We are working with hosts to determine possible dates for NET courses in 2021 as soon as COVID conditions allow for travel. The decision of the UK government to leave the Erasmus+ programme will not affect those projects with a signed contract. We will update participants on any new travel insurance and visa regulations.

As soon as we have confirmed dates and details we will post them here and share through our consortium. The proposed course for 2020 is provided below for information. 2021 course content may change slightly due to COVID regulations.


Host: Martin Clark & Panayiota Demetriou (Kato Drys Community Council)

Course Dates: 2- 9 March 2020

Application Deadline: 31 January 2020

Preparation Meeting Date: 14 February 2020

Aims & Themes: exploring sustainability in rural communities through the 4 pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, economic & cultural); local livelihoods, traditional skills, rural development, community heritage and cultural identity.

Draft Itinerary: 

DAY ONE, Monday 2nd March Arrival to Paphos, transfer to Pano Lefkara. Accommodation in Aloni House with room sharing if necessary. Soup and rolls are waiting for you and we chat about the week ahead 

DAY TWO, Tuesday 3rd March Tour of Pano Lefkara, assemble at Athasi heights for 11.00. Induction and discussion on the 4 pillars of sustainability. More and more in modern rural Cyprus, locals try to add to value to local products. Before lunch we have an hour of modeling clay into acorns and making natural fibre twine. The acorns will be fired in our own kiln later in the week and sold in our ‘Green Village’ shop (jewelry from the landscape) to raise money for native tree planting in Kato Drys (“Drys” = “oak” in ancient Greek) – which was once a village in oak forest. Lunch in a coffee shop before a walk in the olive groves with 1,000 year old trees and (maybe) wild asparagus. The oaks, the wild herbs (“horta”), the ancient olives, are all part of the identity of the place and people…. how do we save them and sustainably develop cultural and eco-tourism. Evening meal from a traditional Greek Oven…. we run courses in building these.

DAY THREE, Wednesday 4th March Visit to Kato Drys for a breakfast of delicious jams and chutneys. In the coffee shop we tell of the legend of the fox with its tail on fire and how the locals are still known as the ‘foxes’….. we look at the community art in the village and how it tells stories and focuses on the famous lace and important local saints.  shop followed by visits to the 2 museums and Demetri & Lyghia’s shop selling local baked goods and delicacies. Lyghia explains how grandma’s recipes are kept alive for a new generation. Lunch in the coffee shop followed by a workshop on mosaic and collage. Evening meal in a local taverna

DAY FOUR, Thursday 5th March Focus on our sustainable shops…First visit the local silversmiths to see them casting their jewelry, then continue our mosaic and collage until lunch.  Lunch is a village salad – In the afternoon visit the “Green Village Shop” in Lefkara, which sells the Lefkara lace in dresses in an attempt to interest and involve younger people, as well as recycled and up-styled pieces. We then look at some of the 45 chapels and churches in the municipality and discover how the Greek Orthodox church is still the heart of the community.. 

DAY FIVE, Friday 6th March A day trip to Nicosia. Cypriot culture is complex but certainly draws something from Turkish Cypriots and the Ottomans, as well as Maronites and Armenians, as well as Greeks of course. We meet some of the characters we work with from all parts of the community, including migrants from Asia and Africa. We visit churches and mosques, sample the varied cuisine and visit the exotic markets of the Turkish Cypriot north as well as leather and lace shops on the Greek side

DAY SIX, Saturday 7th March We visit the Troodos mountains, for a hike in the forest but also to see more local and sustainable products. On the journey, we see a photoshoot in action…. fashion keeps young people in villages and rural landscapes are an ideal showcase…. the venue is in an abandoned shepherd’s village and we look at ‘Shepherd-Inspired Fashion’. We have a picnic in the montane botanical gardens and discuss climate change and it’s impact on water resources, crops, pests and diseases and ultimately how it effects tourism. On the journey down, we visit a Limassol beach and the brave may swim !

DAY SEVEN, Sunday 8th March A more relaxed day. We visit the Municipal dog rescue kennel, which is also an art installation using waste materials. We also look at the Lefkara murals and walk in the Dipotomos valley + some time for ourselves. In the evening, we fire the ceramics kiln and put our acorns in the charge. 

DAY EIGHT, Monday, 9th March It’s departure day but with later flights we have time for local shopping and an ‘orchid hunt’ in Kato Lefkara…. the first varieties should be showing themselves !  Transfer to Paphos for your flight home

Reports from 2019 & film from 2018

Click here to download the full NET course list for 2020.

Click here to download the NET 5 2020 application form. (SNH staff are very
welcome to email an expression of interest but they must complete their own internal HR process before submitting an application form)


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