By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
There are many organizations and
charities that work for children around
I do insist these days that if a charity or similar organization works by receiving money from people then it is essential that their accounts should be open to the public.
I was amazed that I was handed a full print out of their accounts when, for the first time, I met Mrs. Panahi who is in charge of the Labour Children group, who with the help of many volunteers runs the Supportive Cultural Center for Child Labourers, a modest operation for children in the south east of Tehran, so that in a little way the quality of the lives of a small group of them in this huge city of ours is improved for a few hours, days, weeks, months for as long as possible.
I was there for a few hours one afternoon and early evening, and I witnessed the children playing in the little yard. The amount of fun and laughter which created a lot of positive energy as well as a lot of noise which was a little disturbing to those who were studying on the few classes that were running at the same time. I was told they want to make sure that even if these children have to do some work to help with the family budget, while they can attend normal state school, they do not need to forget their child like world of fun and play, outside normal school hours, in the afternoons. This was most admirably done as I stood there in the corner and observed.
This little place was set up by two
- Mrs. Panahi who was a member of Anjoman Hemayt az Hoghugh Kodaak (Society for Protection of the Rights of the Children) and still works with them and is in close contact with their branch nearby in Soush.
- Mrs. Akbari, who is local and has been working with Mrs. Panahi and her group for a long time and is now the school deputy and caretaker. She resides there with her small family.
This group believes in empowerment of women as well, so in the mornings they run a sewing workshop to make all sorts of goods in order to earn a living for the ladies. Women from nearby areas come there and the center acts as a help to the mothers by running a nursery for their kids so that they can pay attention to their work. They get out of the house, learn a trade, earn a little money and have their children taken care of by associate group members. The center sometimes receives bulk orders which keep the ladies busy and delighted at the same time. The ladies first come there for a couple of months as trainees, and if they chose to stay on then they start work officially and get paid. This section of the center received sewing machines through a grant.
In the afternoons the associates run post-school extra curriculum activity classes such as painting, music, theater, photography, reading, extra study classes for school subjects such as mathematics, Arabic, physics, chemistry, dressmaking, hairdressing, golsazi (making artificial flowers) and computing. Classes offered depend on the volunteers available and the duration again depends on their willingness. They also try to have professional classes such as blacksmithing, electrical work and typesetting and also classes teaching children how to deal with violence, both physical and verbal.
Those who are present and wish to can enjoy a simple evening meal with the others, which could be adass polou, gyemh polou, or nan and panhir as the center can provide.
I saw so much laughter and fun during my few hours there that I did not realize the time. I was amazed how much joy these children were having as they played musical chairs, in that small yard. It takes a great deal of determination and effort as well as a big heart to bring these children so much happiness and hope.
There are three ways that one can help these children:
1. Cash contribution:
Bank Melli; Account No. 7701053,
c/o Mrs. F. Izad-Panahi شماره حساب ٧٧٠١٠٥٣ بانک ملی، شعبه بورس، فاطمه ایزد پناهی
33506028 or 33506029
2. Contribution in goods:
Please send or bring the offered
goods, food, computers, clothing, educational materials, books etc. to: No. 6-8,
Kordloo Alley, Imamzadeh Yahyaa Alley, 15th
Please contact the center. They are looking for specialized volunteers in many different fields. You can e-mail them at email@example.com.
It took me two and half hours to get back home, using every means of transport possible, walking, bus, metro and taxi, so be ready to leave some time to get there and back but I am sure if you take the trouble and get there it will be worth your while, and who knows maybe you will find some way to help them.
Their full address is Baharestan -
I have a few pictures for you to share my joyful experiences there.
... Payvand News - 12/14/06 ... --