• Anıl Bahşi | Communications Specialist

Did you know that decorating can change not only the walls, but also people's lives?

Enver, a master decorator, has always been passionate about colours and patterns. He began his decoration journey at an early age, working as an apprentice under his father.

Over the years, he honed his skills, transforming his childhood love of colours into a professional craft. After spending a decade mastering his trade in Lebanon, he moved to Şanlıurfa, Türkiye, in 2013, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a desire to share his knowledge.

Enver (right), a skilled decoration master, shares his extensive knowledge and experience with his community. IOM/Anıl Bahşi

In Türkiye, Enver continued to pursue his passion but faced challenges due to the lack of local suppliers for his materials. Procuring from other cities like Gaziantep, he gradually built his reputation through the quality of his work. He helped facilitate different workshops organized by prominent paint companies.

“This was something I had always dreamt of,” Enver said. “When I did those workshops, they asked me where I learned these patterns. I told them about my time in Lebanon and how this was not just a profession, but a passion for me.”

His unique designs and willingness to share his expertise set him apart, earning him respect and recognition in his community.

Since childhood, Enver has always been passionate about colours and patterns. IOM/Anıl Bahşi

Enver’s journey took a turn when he met Adnan, a member of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s psychosocial mobile team, at a “self-help for men” event. Inspired by Enver’s insights on how creative decoration can improve one’s well-being, Adnan helped bring the programme to life. “When people learn this craft, they can create a livelihood; and having a source of income improves their psychological well-being,” he said.

The programme consists of ten sessions, designed to empower participants by teaching them new decoration techniques and patterns while creating a space for self-expression. Enver would lead the practical decoration sessions, while Adnan would integrate psychosocial support activities.

With a desire to give back to his new community, Enver helped make the programme a success. “I wanted to share what I know with others, for them to benefit and learn.”

Enver is teaching new decoration techniques and patterns as part of IOM’s creative decoration programme. IOM/Anıl Bahşi

Enver’s close friend Şükrü, a painter and decorator who fled the Syrian conflict in 2011, is one of 24 who joined the programme.

With a background in child psychology and teaching, he found it challenging to continue his profession due to language barriers. Like Enver, he turned to decoration — a trade his family had practiced for generations. Living in the same neighbourhood, Enver and Şükrü quickly bonded over their craft.

For Şükrü, the programme not only enhanced his decorating skills but also offered him a chance at healing, crucial for someone who had endured the hardships of displacement.

“This program contributed significantly to my profession, but more importantly, it helped me psychologically. After the sessions, I felt more confident and connected with my community.”

Participants completed the programme feeling a sense of enhanced professional capabilities, self-esteem and community integration. “They started decorating their homes with the designs they learned, sharing their success with others,” Enver explained.

Şükrü and Enver are mobilizing their passion to grow their careers. IOM/Anıl Bahşi

As Enver looks to the future, he dreams of continuing his craft and training others. Meanwhile, Şükrü aspires to expand his small decoration company and apply his skills internationally.

Enver’s and Şükrü’s stories are a testament to resilience, creativity and opportunity.

Their stories demonstrate the power of providing migrants with the tools to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to their new communities.


This initiative was made possible with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

Written by Anıl Bahşi, IOM Türkiye Communications Specialist