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Scholarships give underprivileged children a good start

Three awards offered winners a chance to develop skills and gain experience

Image Credit:
START scholarship winner Safiea Khalfan (left) poses with her award at the Royal Gala Dinner on Saturday 16th March, 2013.
Gulf News

Dubai: Providing art education to over 1,000 refugee, orphaned and special needs children every week in the Middle East and across the region, START, a non-profit organisation founded by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation, gave several students the chance to change their lives at the START Scholarship Award’s Royal Gala Dinner.

Providing several candidates with mentorships, internships and financial support, the START Scholarship Awards aim to give motivated and talented underprivileged children the opportunity to develop their skills and help build their careers.

“The philosophy underpinning START is that art or the creative process involved in artistic self-expression is healing, empowering and can help children to resolve inner conflict, gain a measure of self-worth and self-awareness, and achieve insight,” said Tanaz Dizadji, director of START.

Running over 50 workshops every week across Jordan, Lebanon, India, Palestine and the UAE, START often selects its candidates from the students that are taking part in the workshops who are then assessed by an extensive application and interview process. The awards include the 2013 ‘UAE START Scholarship Award,’ the ‘2013 Jordan START Scholarship,’ and a third financial aid award.

While three different awards were given away on Saturday at the Gala Dinner, Gulf News talked to the 2013 ‘UAE START Scholarship Award’ winner Safiea Ahmad Khalfan from Dar Zayed orphanage in Abu Dhabi about her experience and plans for the future.

Winning an 18-month scholarship supported by PHD (Omnicom), Safiea will get the chance to work and gain experience and mentorship in organisations across the UAE by conducting several internships.

“This scholarship offers to train me in many companies where I can get the skills and knowledge for my future job,” said Safiea who will start the scholarship programme in September 2013.

Saifea who will graduate from Emirates College of Technology in May is an orphan who grew up in Dar Zayed Family Care in Abu Dhabi where she was moved around orphanages until the age of 15.

“I transferred to Abu Dhabi at 17 and I went to Khawla Military School where I also worked for five years,” added Safiea.

Excited to start the programme later this year, Safiea is hoping that this opportunity will open several doors and help start her career path.

At the ceremony, the second award, supported by Majid Al Futtaim, was the 2013 Jordan START Scholarship which was given to Dana Saleh, a student pursuing a career in interior design. The programme will cover tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. With the support of Harry Winston, START will also be financially supporting Noamann Ahmad, winner of 2012’s scholarship with a second year of therapy and education at the Dubai Autism Centre.