When Syamak Moattari was a medical student 17 years ago, he and three fellow students were worried about pollution in the city where they lived and the mountains where they went hiking. Article 50 of the Iranian constitution prohibits activities that harm the environment, but Iranians, they felt, didn’t know enough about the problems. They set up the Green Front of Iran (GFI) in 1989 to make people aware of environmental issues.
source: Radio Netherlands
Since then GFI has flourished. The organization now has thousands of dues-paying members in Iran and organizes clean-up campaigns, tree planting, youth education, and policy dialog with officials. The group now has consultative status with UN agencies and works with the Iranian government to help build the capacity of other NGOs. After the earthquake in Bam, GFI provided volunteers to International Blue Crescent operations in Iran and worked with several organizations to develop health centers, schools and housing.
Moattari recently enrolled as a Doctor of Public Health student at Boston University, with a focus on international health issues. He offers these thoughts to others who may be interested in doing similar work, “At a glance, working to improve the lives of people in poor communities may seem difficult, even impossible; many people would prefer to do nothing. We can do a lot. We can’t change everything in a day or two, but we need to start and we can solve these problems. If we do, it will make a huge difference for our country and the world.” In the words of Mother Teresa, “The poor don’t need our pity, they need our help.”
... Payvand News - 10/25/06 ... --