About The Project

In April 2019 MAYA VAKFI launched its newest program, PhotoLIFT under the “Civil Society Dialogue Fifth Period” with the grant support of Directorate of EU Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by partnering with the Kulturhafen Wien, known for cultural activities that bridge host and migrant/refugee communities in Austria, Maya Vakfı will deliver a program that will empower the participant youth. PhotoLIFT is inspired from Maya Vakfı’s Project LIFT Model which is a Trauma Focused Creative Arts Therapy method developed under the framework of the Skills for Psychological Therapy method developed under the framework of the Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) and enriched with creative arts therapy.


Maya Vakfı believes that all people deserve to live humanely and have hope for the future, and therefore contributes to the mental, physical and academic development of children and young people aged 5 to 18. The Foundation supports them toward realizing their potential, expressing themselves freely, developing creative thinking skills and becoming productive. The Foundation carries out extensive programs with the contribution of local and international funds while collaborating with private and public institutions, Maya Foundation places disadvantaged and traumatized children at the core of its activities and strives to increase the sensitivity and capacity of the people and institutions these children interact with. The Foundation combines the expertise of professionals with the energy of trained volunteers to create a better future together. Maya Foundation, within the scope of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program that forms its main field of operation, organizes activities and events to improve coping skills with the aim of supporting the healing process in traumatized children. Since 2015 Maya Vakfı has been carrying out various projects and programs including;

  • Balat Community Center:
    • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Program for refugees and host community
    • Child Protection Program
  • PhotoLIFT
  • Trauma Informed Schools Program
  • Capacity Building Program
  • Volunteer Program

KHW has a long-standing history of working in close cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Ministry, Interior Ministry and Women’s Bureau in organizing integration and social inclusion activities targeting migrants and refugee youth through educational, social and cultural events in Vienna, Austria.  Since 2003, KHW has organized a multitude of educational, cultural and social activities such as:

  • Bilikids Bilingual
  • Puppet Theater Raumschiff
  • Kulturcafé
  • Cinemorning and Blickwechsel Film Festival
  • Photo-Pedagogy



We are aiming to reach 80 to 120 participants between the ages of 14 and 18 by organizing eight 3-day long photography based psychosocial support workshops.

Through our workshops we are aiming to contribute to social cohesion and psychosocial well-being of participants.

When the workshops are complete two exhibitions are going to be organized in Istanbul and Vienna with the photographs taken by participants.

Through the end of our project the outcomes and lessons learnt of the project will be presented in an international conference

At the end of the project a handbook will be published to present the methods, challenges and outcomes of the projects.


As the main activity of our project, photography based psychosocial support workshops are designed to deliver Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) through the art of photography.


Building Problem Solving Skills

A method to define a problem and goal, brainstorm several ways to solve it, evaluate those ways, then try out the solution that seems most likely to help.

Promoting Positive Activities

A way to improve mood and functioning by identifying and engaging in positive and pleasurable activities.

Managing Reactions

Skills to cope with and reduce distressing psychical and emotional reactions to upsetting situations.

Promoting Helpful Thinking

Steps to identify upsetting thoughts and to counter these thoughts with less upsetting ones.

Rebuilding Healthy Social Connections

A way to rebuild positive relationships and community supports.

We are aiming to achieve our goals through activities described below:

Who am I?

The session enables the participants to express themselves and get to know each other while boosting their creativity through photography.

Camera Obscura

This session shows the participants the working principle of a camera and discovery of photography as they make their own simple camera (obscura)

Different Cameras

This session presents and explains different cameras and their uses to participants while building connections between different uses of cameras and different scenarios (situations) in life to improve their problem solving skills while presenting them different perspectives.

Circle of Emotions

In this session participating participants give poses and simulate different negative and positive emotions to increase their emotional reaction management capacity.

Photo Safari

In this outdoor activity, participants go to a field trip for practicing photography while also interacting with their surroundings and people around them to increase their capacity of building healthy social connections.


In this session, participants enact different roles with costumes and accessorizes. The session aims to increase participants’ capacity to express themselves with different roles and identities.

Group Statue

This session aims to improve participants’ awareness on group membership and shows the importance of shared experiences despite people’s differences.

Photo Analysis

This session aims to present photography as a way of self-expression to participants while both facilitators (photographer and psychologist) help them to interlink their photographs and inner worlds.

Photo Collage

In this session participants use their photographs and various other images to create a collage in a safe space with all the techniques they learned in three days and tell their own story.  


We, as Maya Foundation, have held our first PhotoLIFT workshop in collabration with Refugees Association in Sultanbeyli with fourteen participants between 27th and 29th of August .

We held our second workshop between 31st of August and 2nd of September at İFSAK (Istanbul Photography and Cinema Amateurs Society) with ten participants.


Our third workshop was held at İFSAK (Istanbul Photography and Cinema Amateurs Society) between 11th and 13th of October with eight participants.



As the main activity of our project, photography based psychosocial support workshops are designed to deliver Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) through the art of photography.


If you are a young Syrian refugee between the ages of 14 and 18 and willing to participate in our workshops, please reach us from the information provided below:

Sarper Sarikaya

Project Assistant


M: +90 (531) 265 95 26


Ameen Shaker

Translator/Project Assistant


M: + 90 (531) 883 01 53

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