I am John*, an Iranian citizen living in Cyprus since 2001. I am 49 years old. I am a skilled carpet repairer.

I escaped from Iran because the regime there was extremely oppressive and brutal and I feared being imprisoned, beaten or executed for my views and beliefs. In 2001, I went to Turkey and then took a fishing boat crossing the Mediterranean for 5 hours and landed in Famagusta in Turkish Cyprus. I came to the south, the Republic of Cyprus and applied for asylum in 2001.

During my time in Cyprus, I have been held in police stations, in immigration and detention centres for over a total of 5 years as an illegal alien or wrongly detained or waiting to be deported, or convicted. My claims for asylum were continually rejected,

I was considered an undesirable alien with no papers until the last 5 years. Due to the continued efforts of lawyers, journalists and charitable organisations acting on my behalf, I now receive an annual work permit visa as a self-employed person repairing carpets.

Most of the last 20 years I have been hungry, homeless, suffered ill-health and without any legal status. I have attempted suicide. I have found it impossible to build a life for myself. Every year I live in fear in case my work permit will not be renewed.

Nevertheless, I am grateful to all those who have helped me. In particular since 2013 and living in Limassol, I have been helped by members of the volunteer organisation now called AGAPI Cyprus and I consider them to be my friends. They have visited me in hospitals, in clinics, in prison, whenever detained and they have always provided me with food, friendship and comfort when I needed it.

Now, even though I have had such a difficult time to survive in Cyprus, as an asylum seeker, I am willing to give back some of my time and energy to the society in which I find myself.

Whenever I am needed by AGAPI Cyprus for any job or help, they call me- fortunately I now have a car. I have helped AGAPI Cyprus as a volunteer by doing the following:

  • Any plumbing, air-conditioners, painting, labouring and gardening
  • Any driving work to take persons including beneficiaries to hospitals, to doctors,to Government departments, to Nicosia, to Larnaca, to Paphos, to new accommodation
  • Helping in the AGAPI charity shop transporting  clothing and donations and sorting clothes
  • Helping  at all AGAPI fund raising events
  • I communicate and befriend other asylum seekers. refugees, migrants or poor people I meet at the AGAPI Centreand share my experiences and knowledge with them
  • Sorting food provisions and assisting in the distribution of food to poor persons

Speaking on behalf of all refugees, I hope that the world will understand what it is to be a refugee with no status in society and that we can all work together as one family.

June 2020

*Name has been changed to protect the identities of our members.


My name is Caleb* and I am 25 years old. I was born in the English region of the Cameroon to a French Cameroonian family of 5. I speak both French and English. My father was a lawyer and my mother a teacher. I was a successful young banker and a Pastor based in Buea Cameroon since 2016.

The Lawyers’ March for reforms in the Cameroons, led to the outbreak of the war which is still being fought until today. Lawyers and their families involved in the march were seen as targets and were called terrorists. As a Pastor I used to go to the poor communities helping out with basic needs from the little we raised from church as charity, as the bible requests us to show love.

One night in October 2018 soldiers captured me for helping ‘wanted persons’. They beat me up for 3 days and even dug a hole to bury me. At one period I was left with 2 soldiers and we started talking. They realised I was not a terrorist but only a Pastor helping the poor. Upon promising them money, they decided to help me escape from the forest and the Cameroons. I paid them and they took me to the airport. Later I landed in northern Turkish Cyprus.

An official in uniform met me from the plane and took me in his car at night gave me food and clothes and then pointed me towards the organisation Caritas. I had arrived in the Republic of Cyprus. I had no idea that Cyprus was a divided country.

Caritas welcomed me gave me a tent and I slept out in front of the Catholic church there. I met many Cameroonians and they told me how to get to the immigration office and register as an Asylum Seeker. I was sent to Limassol to get a job to distribute leaflets which was a temporary job and as I had no house no money nothing I decided to go to the nearest church and cry to God because He is the only one who knows my heart.

As I prayed and cried a lady called madam Rozy who was a worker in the AGAPI organisation, she took me to the AGAPI Migrant Center and by God’s grace the Migrant Center kept me in a hostel for some days then rented me a flat, gave me a lawyer who told me the law and my rights and oriented me on everything in Cyprus. They gave me food every day, took care of my rent and last year they also registered me to read law at the University of Nicosia.

Because of the help and support the organisation AGAPI Cyprus has given me I offered to help them in any way as a volunteer.

  • I have been teaching computer classes to refugee and migrants in the AGAPI Migrant centre
  • I have been helping with the food distribution, parking, packaging,
  •    I have been involved in the sorting of clothes and shoes for refugees in the charity shop,
  • And in any little way I can help to give a better life to the refugees and less privileged, I do,

I also pray to God to make me a lawyer so I can one day stand for the less privileged just as Madam Dolly and AGAPI have stood for me. Since I can’t go back home, I want to make home wherever I am, using my life as an example to give hope and strength to any one in grief who thinks the world is over for them. I wish to tell them there is light at the end of the tunnel

I thank you God almighty for His grace, mercy and favour and bless you all.

*Name has been changed to protect the identities of our members.


My name is Kai*, I am 10 years old and I was born in Cyprus. My father is Iranian and my mother is Filippina. My parents were married in the Catholic church in Limassol. I speak Greek and English and go to the Greek school.

My parents have known AGAPI Cyprus for many years and know the good work they do for all the poor people in Limassol. My father works as a painter and gardener and my mum is a cleaner, but she is also a very good cook and baker. 

As a family we all help AGAPI Cyprus whenever we can, and I too help. I am their youngest volunteer. We help with the AGAPI food distribution programme and during lockdown because of the virus and because the AGAPI Migrant Centre was closed, we offered our house as the place where some food distribution could be made. 

Mr. Antony Ellis and his volunteers would bring the bags of groceries and food to our house. People who had lost their jobs and were hungry could collect the food from us. 

We love Cyprus and I love my school and would like to live here always. 

*Name has been changed to protect the identities of our members.


My name is Leo*. I am a Syrian citizen who took refuge in Cyprus, for reasons you all know. At such times, one is faced with so many issues and problems and has to prioritize his/her actions based on urgency and importance of the events. The first thing that caused me panic is the effect that such a move or displacement will have on my children. Will they be able to cope with their new life in the new country with the vast shock of a new lifestyle so different from all they were used to?

I decided: let this be a new beginning. They must understand that things in this life do not always work our ways, and that things are now different from all they knew and/or were used to. They are now in a different country with people who are different from theirs, in religious affiliation, in their traditions and customs, even in their kind of foods, drinks and dress. In their new schools, they met young men and women who profess different religions and have widely different cultural backgrounds. They learned new languages so different from their Arabic mother tongue. However, I kept encouraging them to persevere and to blend in this new setup. 

They have done an amazing job of integrating. They tell me that some of their best friends are not Muslims, but Christians or of other convictions. They mix well with non-Syrians and non-Arabs with no difficulty, they read European or Asian literature and enjoy it. That is what I wanted them to do and be. 

Few years back, I knew of the charity AGAPI Cyprus. At the beginning, I was just a recipient of their assistance, but it has been my passion to give something in return and help in some of their activities and projects. 

Today, and in this meeting, ‘Day of Unity’, I see that many of my hopes and ideas that I wanted for my children are being realized. Around me are people from many nationalities, many religious convictions, and numerous cultural and social ideas and beliefs. Yet, we all join in the one Humanity, and in a common purpose to do good and help the poor and needy. 

I think of every one of us as being a small piece in this very large mosaic, the human race, and each piece must be the right shape and best colour so that this mosaic becomes the masterpiece that God, our creator, wanted it to be. This is the unity that we need and that is the heading for today’s meeting … A day of unity. 

*Name has been changed to protect the identities of our members.


A young Kurdish asylum seeker disabled with no legs, came to us homeless in March 2018. All the various organisations such as Kofinou Reception Centre, Asylum Services, Central Welfare Services etc., could not find him accommodation. Finally, he came to Limassol and AGAPI Cyprus helped him over the first month with accommodation in small hotels.  Elijah* is now being helped by the Agitos Foundation in Nicosia and is making a life in sport in the Cyprus Paralympic team. He will represent Cyprus as a wheelchair racer. He will also start a degree course in IT engineering in the University of Nicosia in September. Elijah* is very grateful to the AGAPI and KISA organisations for helping him.

“I participated in a conference in Italy with the KISA organization. Also last year I participated in diving with Cyprus Paralympics in Limassol. It was very amazing event it was very nice experience…

Also, I want to tell you that the Cyprus government bought me the car now. I’m driving. I hope to see you soon and AGAPI Members … you did too much when I came to Cyprus, I can’t forget I appreciate everything!!”

 *Name has been changed to protect the identities of our members.

Agapi.org.cy | Registered Cyprus Association No. 4600 | Zenonos Street 10, 3040, Limassol, Cyprus | +357 25 212 221

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!