"Project Lift", a program designed and implemented by Turkey's Maya Foundation to rehabilitate Syrian child refugees in Turkey, was under the spotlight in Brussels on Thursday. The project became a topic of discussion at the European Parliament in a session hosted by the MEPs of the "Friends of Turkey" group. Later in the day, the art exhibition "Through a Child's Eyes: The Syrian Refugee Story" was officially opened with Turkcell's (NYSE:TKC) (BIST:TCELL) support in the prestigious Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in the capital of the European Union.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160307005574/en/
Maya Foundation's founders Esra Ozsuer (middle) and Emir Ozsuer, Turkcell's CEO Kaan Terzioglu (left ...

Maya Foundation's founders Esra Ozsuer (middle) and Emir Ozsuer, Turkcell's CEO Kaan Terzioglu (left) opened the exhibition "Through a Child's Eyes: The Syrian Refugee Story" in Brussels. (Photo: Business Wire)

"Project Lift" came into being in 2014 as the idea of then-16-year-old Emir Ozsuer who, having witnessed the situation of Syrian children in Istanbul, mobilized his family and friends to take action. The effort quickly led to the establishment of the Maya Foundation which, through "Project Lift", focused on art therapy as a way of helping Syrian children cope with the trauma of violence, survival and the difficulties of living as refugees.

Under the program, therapists of Maya Foundation work with groups of Syrian children, primarily in the Sultanbeyli neighborhood of Istanbul. They have already worked directly with about 600 children, and have impacted the lives of many more through positively influencing the dynamics inside Syrian families who have found refuge in Turkey.

The exhibition "Through a Child's Eyes: The Syrian Refugee Story", which started receiving visitors in Brussels on March 3rd, combines the art work of these children and the photos of artist Kaan Cuhaci. By portraying the feet of Syrian children in his photos, Cuhaci draws attention to the perilous journeys of refugees and to the difficulties of being away from home. The exhibition will remain open until March 23rd in Bozar Brussels, and will travel in Turkey and around the world with Turkcell's support with the purpose of increasing awareness.

Time to shift the conversation to giving Syrians a chance to rebuild their lives

"With this project, we have made the choice to change the future of Syrian children by giving them a chance to become confident, healthy human beings. We help them cope with trauma, have hopes about the future, and trust life again" said Esra Ozsuer, the Founding President of the Maya Foundation. "The model that we are working with can be useful for all children who have been traumatized. We believe that our work will inspire NGOs all around the world, particularly in Europe, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss our work in the European Parliament and in Brussels in general through the exhibition in Bozar Centre for Fine Arts."

"Europe is just starting to see the trauma of Syrian refugees whereas Turkey has been living with it for the past 5 years since the very beginning of the fighting in Syria. It is time for all actors - governments, civil society and private sector - across all countries to stop the blame game, stop discriminating against people on the basis of citizenship and focus on solutions. We should not be talking about building walls, but concentrating on welcoming Syrians to their host societies as healthy, productive individuals. " said Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Turkcell. "This is exactly what Maya Foundation is doing with "Project Lift" and we are proud to support them in this effort."

Turkcell has been the leading operator to serve Syrian refugees in Turkey, investing heavily in its network in the cities bordering Syria which are often the points of entry into Turkey and primary - and frequently permanent - shelter for many Syrians. Out of an estimated population of 2.7 million Syrians who have sought refuge all over Turkey, close to 1.2 million Syrians have chosen Turkcell as their mobile operator.

Turkcell is the only company in Turkey to offer call center services in Arabic, and its Arabic-language call center has functioned as a emergency hotline at times. It has announced that it will mobilize the power of Turkcell Academy, its online learning platform, to provide online courses to teach Turkish language and culture to Syrians.

ABOUT TURKCELL: Turkcell is a converged communication and technology services player in Turkey. Turkcell Group has approximately 68.8 million mobile, fixed and IPTV subscribers as of December 31, 2015. Turkcell was one of the first among the global operators to have implemented HSPA+. It has announced two new HSPA+ Technologies on its 3G network to meet rising data usage. Having successfully integrated 3C-HSDPA and DC-HSUPA Technologies, it became the first mobile operator in the world to enable peak speed of 63.3 Mbps downlink while also enabled an 11.5 Mbps uplink on a 3G network. Turkcell is the first telecom operator to offer households fiber broadband connection at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in Turkey. As of December 2015, Turkcell's population coverage is at 99.85% in 2G and 95.03% in 3G. Turkcell Group reported a TRY12.8 billion (US$4.7 billion) revenue with total assets of TRY26.2 billion (US$9.0 billion) as of December 31, 2015. It has been listed on the NYSE and the BIST since July 2000, and is the only NYSE-listed company in Turkey. Read more at www.turkcell.com.tr

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160307005574/en/

Copyright Business Wire 2010