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Empowering The Youth: Works Of Science & Arts Foundation In Iran

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Photos by Nazli Sheikholeslami

Did you know that Science & Arts Foundation (SAF) is an organization set up by Iranians, mainly former Sharif University students, with branches in US, UK, France and Sweden? SAF was founded by Dr Edalat in March 1999, and it is run by Dr Tabesh, a delightful and cheerful gentleman at the IT center of Sharif University where the foundations Tehran office is located. The main aim of the foundation is to provide youth in the developing world and especially in Iran with educational opportunities in the field of Information Technology and the Internet by providing the necessary equipment and other needs to Iranian schools everywhere. I strongly recommend that you visit their site at:

They also send their willing members to Iran to train trainers, mainly university lecturers and graduate students as well as managers from other fields. The volunteer lecturers take time off their busy schedules, to come home without pay to show their good will and help their nation to become a better place for all to be proud of. SAF runs special educational programs with the collaboration of Sharif University. All the costs, except for provision of the classrooms for such projects are borne by SAF.

SAF has been conducting a very well received project in Bam as well. I talked to their station manager Mr. Massroor who was on his way to Bam to run their IT center, which is in a large connex, for two months. Almost everybody I have come across in this project are very positive, relaxed and extremely professional people.

Another SAF project that I had the pleasure of learning about first hand was a girls high school, Alzahra, which is an ordinary school, run by local educational authorities in the 17th municipality section of Tehran, yet it is most sought after by parents. I guess the fact that at least about 85% of all their final year students get to Iranian universities of their choice, and mainly in science courses, have something to do with this demand. The school takes students only after they pass an entrance exam. In Alzahra, SAF has set up an IT center, with many fast computers and internet. I went to visit the school recently with a group of ladies from Europe - everyone in our group was impressed with the girls' level of general knowledge as well as their very good command of English, besides the science projects that they had undertaken, and the school's most impressive site and their collaboration with other schools via the net.

I was informed by the headmistress, Ms. Negari, and one of the teachers, Ms. Sar-Abbadi, that there is a special dormitory, for about 100 students, where the girls who are studying for their university entrance can stay.

I hope that other organizations follow the good deeds of SAF and help other schools and other young boys and girls students in Iran, talented or even less talented, and find ways and means to encourage them to reach their higher potential and to better themselves. One way of doing this would be to set up a competition among individuals in each school and between schools and send the winners in each category for a summer vacation to a place where they can have fun and learn by becoming familiar with new and different cultures, cities and countries. I am sure that SAF would assist such program with their knowledge and experience in Iran

For more information, please visit these sites:

... Payvand News - 6/4/04 ... --

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