Our Vision and Mission
We envision a world where all children have the opportunity to expressthemselves freely, think creatively and reach their full potential
Project Lift aims to rehabilitate traumatized children through therapeutic expressive art workshops to break the cycle of trauma and violence, and prevent it from recurring in future generations.
Project Lift’s story began in 2014 with high school student Emir Özsüer.
Since 2011, Syria’s civil war has forced millions of men, women, and children to flee their home country and seek refuge in another. Emir, who has always been interested in international affairs, began to notice more and more displaced Syrians throughout his city of Istanbul. He recognized the terror in the eyes of the children refugees and began to wonder what life as a refugee was like. In his own words Emir describes his experience:
“You could read the trauma from his eyes and the fear that resides inside him along with all the overwhelming feelings caused by not being accepted. That moment, I understood that his fear was not just a feeling anymore but it was a reaction; it was a cry for help “
In order to help, Emir first decided to get a bit closer to the center of the issue and visited the Gaziantep refugee camps. After this initial visit and his extensive research on childhood trauma, he understood that the adverse effects of trauma were not limited to children of war; all children with myriad trauma backgrounds needed caring, compassionate and supportive interventions. From this fundamental idea, Emir founded Project Lift and he summarizes his founding goal as follows:
“My main goal for Project Lift is to help provide the right conditions and opportunities for traumatized children to be able to continue their lives as healthy human beings and to help them reintegrate with the society. At first, I decided to focus on the Syrian refugee children, because they were forced out of their country due to war and had to take refuge in Turkey and now they are not getting the help they received at the beginning. They need us. My goal is to reach all children.”