Cyprus hell for Zim students

HARARE - While foreign universities are portrayed as havens of quality education  compared to those in the country, Zimbabwean students in Northern Cyprus are going through hell.

Instead of the island being a paradise it has turned otherwise with parents complaining that their children are suffering attacks and abuse from the Turks, language barrier in lectures, and high expenses making their stay horrible.

There are about 4 800 Zimbabwean students who are in Cyprus — which is under Turkey — with reports that some went through agencies that promised non-existent scholarships.

This also comes as the Zimbabwean parliament has reported that Zimbabwean students there are turning to crime as they try to eke out a living.

In an incident that showed the extent of the troubles these students are facing, Macmillan Nyamukondiwa is battling blindness following racially aggravated assault.

Friends and family of the 27-year-old had to open a GoFundme page to help raise  £10 500  for an operation to restore his sight.

Nyamukodiwa left Zimbabwe for Cyprus in 2016 where he was currently studying towards an M.Sc. in Information Systems at Near East University in Northern Cyprus.

In June this year, Nyaukondiwa was attacked by Turkish assailants but his friends of Turkish origin were left unharmed. 

He was unlucky because stitches from previous corneal transplant came off and this threatened vision in his right eye.

“Doctors in Cyprus stitched up his eye in a medical surgery and put him on antibiotics but unfortunately this was in vain.

“The diagnosing doctors have recommended a corneal transplant in a highly-specialised eye centre as it is not a straightforward case. At present, Macmillan only has five percent of his vision. As a family we are in the deepest of despair following these events,” the GoFundme page which has also met half of the required amount read.

Nyamukondiwa is not the only student who has appealed for crowd funding, several other students are also turning to the page to help them finish their studies on the island as their parents in Zimbabwe can no longer afford.

One parent of the students studying at Cyprus International University told the Daily News on Sunday that if she had a choice she would withdraw her son from the university.

“It’s now late because a year has already gone by, but I am not even settled. I am always forking out money, to make  sure my son lives comfortably because the landlords are rough and they are always getting them harassed by the Turkish police,” the parent who, however, could not say her name to protect her son’s  identity said.

“You know agents here paint Cyprus as this paradise but it’s not, our children are suffering on that island.  And they say lectures are in English but not all of them are, it’s a few lecturers that can speak English. They also say that you can use United States dollars but that’s not the case, they use euros so everything becomes expensive.”

Another Zimbabwean who had gone to study in Cyprus will spend the next seven years in prison after being convicted of drug dealing in the country as he sought to earn a living illegally.

This also comes as officials in Cyprus are seemingly facing a torrid time with Zimbabwean students studying in the island country that have turned to prostitution and trafficking of drugs in a desperate bid to survive as they are living on the fringes of poverty.

Parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson on Foreign Affairs Kindness Paradza has since approached the ministry of Foreign Affairs with the view of sending a delegation to investigate the full extent of the crimes being perpetrated by Zimbabweans.

“Three Zimbabwean students were recently arrested, one has been given seven years’ imprisonment over drug trafficking,” Paradza told the Daily News on Sunday earlier.

“Some went there with false information and because of that they started involving themselves with drugs, in prostitution, others are marrying other nationalities for convenience. Some have been arrested for drug trafficking.

“So we have approached the ministry to send an official delegation there through Turkey because Cyprus is under Turkey.”

Comments (6)

God have mercy. Having spend years studying overseas, I feel for these poor students. My advise to parents with children in that part of the world is to arrange for them to come back home. The post traumatic therapy required will be a challenge. My sincere prayers go to these students whose only crime is to be as far away from home as possible. And we have a monster first family spending money as there is no tomorrow!!!!! Judgement day will come. God has ways of punishing those who think they are cleverer than others.

garikayi - 21 August 2017

This article is poorly researched.Following the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 they have taken over and in effect annexed the northern part of Cyprus.Northern Cyprus is a Country only recognised by Turkey and various UN. resolutions have declared it an invalid state.The plight of the students there make it clear they really are living in a sham state.As far as I know the government of Zimbabwe does not recognise Northern Cyprus as they support the many UN resolutions and I am surprised students are encouraged to go there.

Chris - 21 August 2017

Cyprus is not 'under Turkey'. The Universities or should I say so-called Universitieis are in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus which was invaded ny Turkey in 1974 and is still under military occupation - they formed the pseudo-state there where these unfortunate students were lured to. Some proper homework by parents and prospective students should have raised the alarm bells! Please note that the Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and there any foreign students would have better redress if anything untoward happened to them. So, if you want to study i8n Cyprus, look at establishments in the 'south' i.e. the Republic of Cyprus.

PhilLC - 21 August 2017

While geographically speaking, Cyprus is 'under' Turkey, using that logic, Egypt and Israel are 'under' Cyprus. HOWEVER, Cyprus is an independent free country, a member of the European Union, but about 30% of the country is OCCUPIED by 30,000 Turkish troops since 1974. All countries except Turkey recognize the entire island as Cyprus, her citizens being Cypriots. Only Turkey imagines the occupied area as a rogue nation. It is not.

MatthewBaltimore - 21 August 2017

I still don't understand why those agencies are still operating. Aren't they supposed to be arrested? The reports against them are way too much and they still continue to deceive people.

Vee Chumah - 23 August 2017

Please note that the occupied areas of Cyprus have been under the effective control of Turkey since the Turkish occupation since the invassion of Cyprus in 1974, through "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" which is a sub ordinate of Turkey which has only been regognised by Turkey. UN Security Council resolutions 541 and 544 of 1983 and 550 of 1984 which call on UN members not to regognize the illegal regime and avoid dealing with it. The resolutions call upon member states to work towards the reunification of the island. Cyprus is not under Turkey, as it was stated in the Article. The Republic of Cyprus is an independent state, member of the United Nations and the European Union. Since it's accession to the EU as a whole, the European Acquis was suspended in the occupied areas of Cyprus untill a solution to the Cyprus issue is found and the island is re united. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not regognise the illegal regime installed in the occupied part of Cyprus and any institution operating in these areas is illegal and not regognised. We therefore advise that people avoid dealing with them. Unfortunatelly, the Turkish occupation of Cyprus prevents the Government of the Republic of Cyprus from applying the European lacquis and establish law and order and respect of human rights in these areas. Please contact our offices with regards to information relating to such institutions and any other relevant information. Nestoras P. Nestoros Honorary Consul of Cyprus in Zimbabwe.

Nestoras Nestoros - 23 August 2017

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