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"Life should go on as long as there are poppies": Mohebie School for the Blind

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran


Title in Persian: ta shghayegh hasst zendegi bayad kard


I have been back in Tehran for over a week after nearly ten weeks of absence.  Life is fast, exciting and believe me breathtaking, although not always positive.  I feel that I may need a while to get back into the tempo here.  It is so different from the quiet, easy going, maybe too relaxed life in Oxford. Yes, everybody is talking about IT but life goes on normally as usual.

Omid House


In one week, besides going to my mother’s grave, and seeing many friends and relations, I have met with couple of NGOs.  I went to a concert, and managed to throw two parties.  I also managed a catch up with few check-ups that was needed.  I watched several good films on DVD thanks to my dear film man Mr. D.   I enjoyed the sun - sitting on our balcony.  I went to see an art exhibition at one of Tehran galleries, and had couple of business meetings. Yet I feel that I have been lazy and have not done anything except what was necessary!  You see what I mean about the tempo. The temperature is quite high for this time of the year and we all pray for some cooling breeze.





I want to share with you some experiences since I have been back.


Last Thursday I went to see Mr Lavasani at the Mohebie School for the Blind.  It is a residential centre which was opened in 1963 and has several buildings some of which were added to the school later, built by donation.   I went there, with an appointment, on behalf of Popli Foundation ( on a fact finding mission. I was there to find out how the computer center that Popli Foundation had set up there with the help of Science & Arts Foundation (, over two years ago could be made more proactive and beneficial to the boys there.


Mr. Lavasani



Mr Lavasani who is head of the school and wears dark glasses, told me that they have about 205 boys at the centre, and some 60 of these boys can use the computer.  The school aims to encourage a computer culture among the students so that they are eager to learn better and faster, despite shortcomings and initial difficulties.



Then I was introduced to Mr. Mokhtari, the computer instructor who himself has been a student at the center and has lived there for more than 15 years.  He showed me the computer center and explained the difficulties that they have with regard to running the place.  Then Mr Lavasani invited me to go to the Omid Center in Vanak Village the following Saturday at 5:00 pm where they had a festive program arranged.


Mr. Mokhtari


Computer Center


As the taxi drove in the lovely narrow street of Vanak Village, while I could hear the sound of the water gently oozing in the narrow jubes, I was taken by the loveliness of the tree branches slowly dancing to the spring breeze.  We easily found the Omid House for the Blind – (Omid in Persian means Hope). The house was donated by Mr and Mrs Hozouri who gave the house in the loving memory of their beloved son Omid who died 9 years ago in a car accident - this would have been his home.  What a poignant way to come into terms with your pain and grief.



Omid's Memorial


As I walked in I was welcomed with a bunch of flowers that one of the boys presented to me and then as I walked upstairs I noticed that some of the boys were rehearsing with their flutes for their program.  When I went upstairs I saw Mr Ali Parvin, one of Iran’s old time Football heroes, who like many others are giving their support to such good causes.  While I was seated I heard the orchestra playing tunefully and heard the lovely voice of Mr Kayghobadi singing.  Later a lovely young lady, Arghavan, who was sitting near us played dulcimer (santour) while young Ali recited some poems most beautifully, which touched us all.


Arghavan and her mother


Ali Parvin


The center started last year and runs extra programs for the boys.  It aims to do what governmental homes do not provide.  The house has classes in language, computer, fretwork which is a kind of wood-engraving called moaragh, chess, carpet weaving, music classes and others.


When one of the directors, Mr Morovatjou, was giving a short report on the work they had done during the past year, he mentioned that Omid House for the Blind is a place that not only allows the blind students to learn trades or an art or other new things which will eventually help them to make a better life for themselves, but it also gives others an opportunity to do something good and useful for those less fortunate, by whatever means possible.



I found the place (and the boys!) clean and well taken care of.  I left them hoping that I could find a way to help the Omid House for Blinds in order to help more boys better and longer as well as encouraging others to open similar centers for girls, and also to expand outside Tehran.




Their web site is:

You contact them at

Address is: Vanak, Mollara-Saddra Ave., North Shaykh-Bahaie Street, West Shahid Kolivand (Danesh Doust) No. 305 - Tel. 88046979


Mr Lavasani is head of Mohebie who may be contacted at 01198-21-440072200 & 01198-21-440072282


... Payvand News - 4/24/06 ... --

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