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We are raising funds for our next project

Our Story

Who are we?

PAYANAM is born out of my own lived experience. A photograph group helped me to overcome and /heal my trauma, changing my life into a positive one. I have now recreated this photography group to help other refugees and asylum seekers. 

PAYANAM is a social enterprise and photography group that supports and helps refugees and asylum seekers by training and coaching them to learn photography so they can create art that tells their stories and explores the healing power of art through the creative process. 


Photography Club

What we are doing?

Our creative art project teaches and trains refugees and asylum seekers in the medium of photography. We encourage people to share their stories through art. This process of creating artwork and sharing their stories will help people to reclaim their mental health, their story and to regain control over their life experiences. 

We have a wonderful team of volunteers @Alejandra Carles-Tolra and @JJ Keith with years of experience working with refugees and asylum seekers who will train the group. The course covers beginner-level photography which, by the end of the project, participants will produce their own photographs to share in a public exhibition. This project helps participants proceed to learn the next levels in photography, start a career in the arts, or to just learn a fun new skill! 


“I like the relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to experiment with different angles, lighting, and compositions. It allowed for creativity and unique and captivating shots” 


“How interactive and immersive it was, my mentor is always a joy teaching us. At one point she picked up a giant cone to demonstrate a technique and one of us took a photo through it. It was brilliant. I admire her commitment to assisting us in learning photography”


"Lessons, the interplay of light, shadow and composition, all things are very interesting, and our teachers is very helpful"

Photography Exhibition - June 2024

We're thrilled to announce the culmination of our 12-week beginner level photography project for refugees and asylum seekers!

Journeys of Strength celebrates the determination, courage, and unwavering hope of a group of 10 photography students from refugees and asylum seeking backgrounds. Through their photographs and compelling stories, this exhibition is a celebration of human's ability to overcome adversity and find strength in the face of immense challenges.


The work presented here is the final output of a 12-week photography course led by our award-winning mentors Alejandra Carles-Tolra (photographer) JJ Keith (videographer). The course introduced participants to photographic skills and provided them tools for self expression. Their artworks are displayed in connection with Refugee Week 2024.


The power of art is undeniable, and this exhibition showcases how photography has helped participants express themselves and share their unique perspectives.

Join us in celebrating their exceptional work!

Here's how you can experience the online exhibition:

  • Link to the online exhibition: Journeys of Strength (Live on Friday, 21 June)

  • Hashtag: Follow the conversation on social media using #RefugeeVoicesThroughPhotos


We're incredibly proud of the talent and dedication displayed by our participants. This exhibition is a testament to the impact art can have in fostering understanding and connection.


Thank you to everyone who supported this project!


Crowdfunding Campaign

We need your help
for the next Photography Project

We need help to support the delivery of the next group. We will be using the money to cover the project costs including, venue hire, buying cameras & equipment, printing artwork for display, and participant for travel expenses. 

Did you know that Travel expenses are one of the main reasons for asylum seekers to avoid and skip creative sessions as they cannot afford the travel cost and must prioritise other appointments? Asylum seekers survive off of less than £50 per week, which needs to cover food, clothing, and other essentials. We do not think that they should miss out on creative and positive mental health workshops because of travel costs.

Can you help us to continue the project and become part of the great impact of many lives?


Link to the Crowdfunder Page: CrowdfunderPayanamphotographyClub

Refugee Week- 2024
Pop-up Shop @ Anqa

Our Partners

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