Supporting local students

Thuwal and Qadimah students were delighted with their new school supplies provided by the KAUST Saudi Initiatives-led back to school campaign volunteering activity in August and September 2016. Photo by Muhannad Abughdeeb.

In August and September of 2016, different KAUST departments and community members took part in the fifth annual back to school campaign, which was formerly known as the School Kit Program. The Saudi Initiatives-led back to school campaign aims to improve the learning environments and educational goals of children and teens in the Thuwal and Qadimah region.

Starting school with success

A pair of happy students pose with their new school supplies provided by the back to school campaign volunteering activity. Photo by Mona Ezzeldeen.​ ​​

The 2016 campaign helped support 607 students from grades one, seven and 10, and saw a 120-strong KAUST volunteer team get involved in the many activities that helped to make the program a success. The diverse group of volunteers, which included many students from The KAUST School (TKS), generously dedicated their free time to help promote the campaign by delivering school bags directly to their peers in Thuwal and Qadimah. The school bags filled with essential school supplies were provided to help local students start their school year with success.

A 'heartwarming' event

“The back to school campaign experience was great, and meeting new people who were also interested in the campaign was a lot of fun,” said TKS student Nadya Ibrahim. “It was really heartwarming watching the kids' faces light up when they received the school supplies. It's important for the KAUST community to volunteer in social responsibility, as small differences do make a difference. We should continue to help our neighbors in Thuwal to build a stronger relationship and community with them.”

“Our small deeds and actions have a greater effect than what we think on those around us,” added volunteer Modar Alfadly, a KAUST Ph.D. student. “Being part of the reason a kid loved going to school and started dreaming for a better future is simply priceless.”

Bringing the world together

A dedicated team of KAUST volunteers helps to assemble school supply kits on the University's campus. Photo by Mona Ezzeldeen.​​​

TKS student Lukas Ekers added, “The back to school campaign was a new experience for me, and it changed my perception of education in Thuwal and Qadimah. It is important to support neighboring communities because there are many keen young minds who have the potential to make the world a better place. By having the KAUST community volunteer in an event like this one, people learn to support each other, which brings the world together.”

Through its Social Responsibility department, Saudi Initiatives is dedicated to advancing the University’s mission to be a good neighbor and responsible citizen, ensuring that the University’s intellectual and social capital is used to sustainably improve the quality of life for individuals and communities in the University’s neighboring villages. All of those who participated in the back to school campaign helped to show support for both the students and teachers in Thuwal and Qadimah.

If you would like to volunteer for the back to school campaign or programs like it, please send an email to