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MAHAK - The society to support Children suffering from Cancer


By Paul Sanford, Tehran


The MAHAK charity is one of the most impressive charitable organizations in Iran.  Their aim is that no child in Iran diagnosed with cancer has to go without treatment because of lack of money.




Last Friday, MAHAK launched their calendar for 2007.   Iranian photographers have each donated stunning photographs of children for the calendar, which can now be obtained from the charity.  The photographers are


  • Morteza Nikoubazl
  • Zohre Soleimani
  • Caren Firouz
  • Aslan Arfah
  • Mohsen Rastani
  • Taher Kenareh
  • Omid Salehi
  • Haleh Anvari
  • Peyman Houshmandzadeh
  • Hassan Sarbakshian
  • Alfred Yaghoubzadeh



An exhibition of the photographs was held at the MAHAK complex last weekend.  The calendars, generously sponsored by a number of Iranian companies, are available for 5000 toman each.  Postage to the US is an additional 2000 toman.  For more info please email or call +98 21 22451414.




MAHAK is a wonderful example of how the need for a cancer center for children was developed with much kindness and love into a fully functioning hospital.   About thirteen years ago a mother who had experienced having a child with cancer and had witnessed first hand the difficulties faced by her child, pledged that she would set up a center that would act as a sanctuary for children and their families in a similar situation.  With the assistance of the same friends and relatives who had helped her through her own ordeal, a board of governors was selected and the “MAHAK Society to Support Children with Cancer” was set up as a non profit, non-governmental organization.  MAHAK has been active from that day in helping children with cancer and their families and has grown beyond anyone’s expectations.   MAHAK is funded entirely by donations.


In 2003, MAHAK’s Hospital and Rehabilitation center in Darabad was completed. The center is situated in Tehran’s north eastern hills and comprises an 18000 square meters building equipped to accommodate up to 120 children, each accompanied by a member of their family. The center houses diagnostic and treatment wards of the highest standards, on a par with those seen anywhere else.


Within the center, there are other facilities offered such as a clinic, a chemotherapy laboratory, radiotherapy section, physiotherapy ward, water therapy section, operation rooms, M.R.I and CT-Scan, Radiology, ICU, library, children's playroom, restaurant, amphitheatre and a shopping center.  The various parts of the complex have been furnished with the help of charitable individuals and as a gesture of gratitude each section has been named after the donor.

The wards were equipped and began operation in August 2003, when the first patient was admitted.

The two rehabilitation wards are fully functional and are laid out over two floors, with 15 rooms on the first floor for children accompanied by a female member of their immediate family and with another 15 on the second floor for those children who need to be accompanied by a male family member.  There is also a playroom provided for the children, a sitting area for the families and a kitchenette.

Currently, these wards are run by 14 nursing graduates in three shifts around the clock. Two social workers offer their services in two shifts of morning and afternoon and two psychiatrists are available in the afternoon shifts.  In the afternoons a number of volunteers visit the ward to play with the children.

The Society’s team of social workers is fully active in children’s oncology wards in nine hospitals throughout Tehran, where they provide children and their parents with medical treatment and support. 

MAHAK pays all related expenses including X-rays, test, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, food, clothing and all accommodation during their treatment.  Since 60% of the children come to Tehran from the provinces, the Social Work Department arranges for their transfer by ambulance or airplane.

MAHAK has been officially recognized by UNHCR as the organization which helps refugee children (Afghan and Iraqi) with cancer both in and out of refugee camps.

MAHAK is entirely funded by donations from the public.  You can join as a member (there are over 31000).  It is also possible to sponsor a child’s treatment by making a regular payment of 125000 toman per month.  If you wish you can make a direct payment to Bank Saderat, Account 140059, Branch 4554, Tehran or Bank Saderat Dubai, Account Number 2624-125050-102.  There are full details and forms available on the website.

For more information about this amazing charity, please see

MAHAK Hospital & Rehabilitation Complex
, Oushan, Lashgarak Road, Aqdasieh
, Iran
. P.O Box: 19395-5445,

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