START was founded in March 2007 by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation and is now an independent non-profit organisation under Al Madad Foundation.
The START founders have taken the United Nation's Human Rights Council declaration on the 'Rights of the Child' as their code of conduct. Their belief in art and artists working without borders means that START can enable children to determine their own stories.
Message from Faiza Meyassar Alireza, Chair of Al Madad Foundation:
"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.
We were and are inspired by the words of Richard Kamler: 'Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favours no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal, and transform.
It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible. It creates a dialogue between individuals and communication between communities. It allows us to see and to listen to each other.' (Richard Kamler, artist and creator of the Seeing Peace Project.)
Message from John Martin, co-founder of Art Dubai:
"Children and young adults are the building blocks of the future. We live in a world ravaged by natural or human devastation and divided by geographic, political, religious, linguistic and cultural boundaries. Art is a language without borders that communicates across boundaries.
We co-founded START because we hope that by using art and accessing the arts industries START can be a powerful support in opening opportunities to communities of children whose future and perception of their place in the world would otherwise be restricted."