A group of friends got together to bake cookies that we could hand out to some of the workers here who do the jobs that no one else wants to do. They are under-appreciated, and often underpaid.
The guys in this picture are representative of the blue collar workers at KAUST. Most have come from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Indonesia. They are here to fill blue collar jobs that pay at a higher salary than back home (but still not very much.)
Immigrant workers in this Saudi Arabia often get mistreated. It is not KAUST's fault, but there is a widespread practice in this country that the contractors which sponsor construction workers, housekeepers, and other low-paying jobs will take the passports of their immigrant employees after they enter the country. The justification is so that these workers will have to fulfill their contracts, but sometimes these contracts change. Without their passports, employees are at the mercy of their employers and often find their working hours extended, their wages reduced, or that other benefits never materialize.
All is not all bad, but these things do happen. By baking and handing out cookies we just wanted to show these guys that we appreciate what they do for us and that we value their contributions to our community.
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