The AjA Project, founded in 2000, is an acronym for the phrase, “Autosuficiencia Juntada con Apoyo” (supporting self-sufficiency).

To provide photography-based programming to transform the lives of youth and communities

The AjA Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in San Diego, California. Utilizing participatory photography methods and an assets-based model, AjA’s programs transform youth and communities. Since its founding, AjA has provided long-term, community-based programming for over 2000 individuals, and has shared visual narratives with over 1 million viewers through large-scale public exhibits.

Our Vision
We believe youth and communities have the ability to change from within. The AjA project exists to ignite change, break cycles of marginalization and to build healthy communities. We do this through a creative platform called participatory photography that asks participants to reflect on and analyze their personal and social landscapes.

Theory of change

• Assets-based model
The AjA Project operates from an “assets-based” model rather than a “deficit-based” model. We believe our students possess the skills and tools for success and self- sufficiency.

• Participatory
Participatory models are intended to reverse power dynamics and provide a venue for self-guided reflection, reconciliation and growth. Throughout this process, participants find their own voice and sense of empowerment leading to sustainable, behavioral change.

National Recognition
• The AjA Project is recognized as a leader in the field of participatory photography.

President of the United States’ Committee for the Arts and Humanities. Coming Up Taller award for excellence in youth programming.

Clinton Global Initiative

Americans for the Arts National Conference

Harvard University: Visible rights for children

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

Media Impact Funders Conference (speaking opportunity)

James Irvine Foundation, Regional Arts Initiative Conference