Originally born as a collaboration between Al Madad Foundation and Art Dubai, what would eventually become the Foundation's Art Education initiative began work in Dubai in March 2007.  By the end of 2016, START was running over 55 weekly art workshops for orphans, refugee and special needs children across the Middle East and India, and reached over 2,000 children a year. 

While successful in bringing art into the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children, Al Madad Foundation felt that it had become a case of doing something for everyone, but not enough for anyone.  The Foundation decided to reconsider the way we approach this area of our work, focusing on need and impact and targeting the areas of the world where we feel we can do the most good.  In 2017 Al Madad Foundation launched its new art structure, encompassing a more integrated mission and results-led programme, with START transitioning to a solely art education-based programme area. 

Artists who collaborated with START included:

Farhad Moshiri

Safwan Dahoul

Sacha Jafri

Maisoon Al Saleh 

James Clar

Athier Zara Mahmood

Khaled Takreti

Patrica Millns

Nadim Karam

Noor Al Khaja

Elhum Shakerifar

Maitha bin Lahej

Ayman Yossri

Mohannad Orabi

Ebtisam Abdulaziz

Sara Naim

Lisa Widemann

Nabil Nahas

Syed Faraz Ali

Estevan Oriol

David Choe

Seher Neveed

Nisha Sood

Alia Dawood

Michelle Harvey

Rania Zaid Jishi 

Uday Al Araji

Zoe Notara