By Syma Sayyah
'Wherever love comes to stay, all the impossible
Mahak - the charity for children with cancer - is a
well known name in many Iranian homes and they are right to claim that a large
proportion of people in Tehran and in other cities know their name and what they
Here is a short story about this best managed, best
performing and 100% transparent NGO in Iran which takes care of children up to
14 years old who suffer from cancer. Last week Mahak was presented with the
Swiss SGS NGO Benchmarking award for the best and most transparent NGO in the
Mahak hospital in Darabad
About 18 years ago a proud Tehran mother faced the
devastating news about her darling daughter's illness. She swallowed her pain
and, out of love, wanted to do something so that others would not find
themselves alone when faced with such agony. She talked to some wonderful good
people around her as well as to her friends who all came to share her love and
compassion for their fellow humans and together they formed Mahak. Happily,
years later, this mother's daughter recovered from cancer and is now studying
for her degree at University of Berkeley in California.
Last week, we were delighted to be present at
Mahak's Farhad Khabyari auditorium along with many of Mahak's supporters and
sponsors at the first major gathering since their new hospital became officially
operational in April 2007. It took nearly 12 years, from the first idea of
building the hospital in 1995 to last April when the hospital obtained all
necessary permits and became operational, thanks to those in charge of the
government agencies and organizations who speeded up the process out of their
Dr Karbasizadeh donated the initial estimate of 20
billion rials in memory of his beloved late wife who had died of cancer, but the
total costs came to 59 billion rials (about $6.5 million), the rest of which was
entirely raised by other private individuals. The hospital is one of the most
advanced cancer hospitals in the region and since its opening it has cared for
more than 7236 in- and out- patients.
CEO, Mr. Samadd Taheri
That evening, we were welcomed by the outgoing CEO,
Mr. Samadd Taheri, who told us that Mahak was built on and for love and it
thrives on hope. He explained how active young Mahak volunteers are, making it
run smoothly and efficiently, and how everybody who works there adds that
magical sense of dedication and love to his or her work, to enhance and optimize
the devotion received from donors and support.
Mahak is the house of hope for children with cancer
and their families during their illness, and there is an ongoing support system
afterwards. Mr Taheri said that the daily operating costs were more than
30,000,000 rials ($3200) and he hoped that love would bring the required income
to Mahak to continuing giving a safe, first class service to children in need to
take away their pain.
Mr. Arassab Ahmadian
We then heard a short report from the present CEO,
Mr. Arassab Ahmadian. He stated that in their chemotherapy unit, which is
equipped with some of the most advanced equipment, they work two shifts and work
with 32 other university teaching hospitals in Iran, and there is a Mahak office
in 10 hospitals in Tehran. In their research section they cooperate with many
international organizations who are involved in cancer research and last year
they hosted an international conference with UN agencies and received a most
admiring letter of commendation from Michele Fedoroff (the deputy of NGO section
of the UN).
We then watched a most loving and moving short film
about the hospital in which some of those who help to run this wonderful
hospital addressed the audience. By the time the film ended I doubt if there
were many dry eyes.
We heard from the most active member of the Mahak
and our host that evening, Dr Karbasiezadeh. He told us Mahak was built with
love and affections for our fellow men and quoted this line "wherever love comes
to stay, all the impossible becomes possible".
He said that Mahak's success is due to its care and
devotion in helping others, with honesty, clarity and sincerity. He said that
Mahak is not just a name, it is now a way of life for many - a provoking
thought. It helps families with cancer patient children to take care of their
loved ones; Mahak helps the children to live happier lives and instead of the
thought of being alive or not, helps them to think about how to live in the
Mahak's logo is love and the light of this hope is
in the hands of Mahak's supporters, donors and sponsors.
The final speaker was Mrs Saeideh Ghods whose
original vision, with the help of others, turned into Mahak and she told us how
proud she is to be an Iranian and how wonderful it is to be part of a nation
that cares for its fellow citizens with such love, care, devotion and concern.
Mrs Saeideh Ghods and Mr. Sharif
The audience was then asked to pledge their choices
of days for the daily running costs of the hospital for the next 120 days. Some
donated a day for their spouse, parent or children's birthdays or memory or
their anniversary of a loved one, or just for sheer gratitude for being well.
Nearly 240 million toman ($250,000) was raised in less than an hour!
Dear Payvand readers, I have had experiences with
many NGOs in Iran and, in my opinion, Mahak is the best operated, best run, best
managed and effective NGO in Iran as well as being the most modern. I appeal to
you all, on behalf of all the children who so freely enjoy Mahak's benefits, to
find a way to help and support Mahak.
Their accounts are open for your donations - see the
"How to Donate" page on their website,
for details of their international accounts. US supporters may find it more
convenient to send donations to the
International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) in California, who support
The MRI Unit
Please help them in order that not only their
kindness to reach the needy but also their message of openness, transparency,
accountability, high standards, compassion and effectiveness and success in
achieving its goals as an organization reaches other organizations (NGO or
government) in our nation in order to make Iran a better place for all, so that
we can all be more proud of being Iranians. It is up to us individually to do
what we can to make the world a kinder and better place!
Mahak - the Society to Support Children Suffering
from Cancer is not just a great internationally recognized Iranian NGO but a way
About two decades ago a mother who had experienced
having a child with cancer and had witnessed first hand the difficulties faced
by her child, pledged to set up a center that would act as a refuge 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
trustees was selected and MAHAK Society to Support Children suffering from
Cancer was set up as a non profit, non-governmental organization and was
registered under number 6567 in 1991. MAHAK has been active from that day on in
helping children with cancer and their families.
MAHAK Hospital & Rehabilitation Complex,
MAHAK St, Oushan, Lashgarak Road, Aqdasieh, Tehran, Iran. P.O Box:
19395-5445, To see the map click here
Tel: (+9821) 22451414, (+9821) 22490544-7,
Fax: (+9821) 22445454
No 36, Neda Sq, Chizar,
Tel: (+9821) 22213946, (+9821) 22213888,
Fax: (+9821) 22201312
No 36, GF, Mellat Tower, in front of the Mellat Part, Vali-e-Asr Avenue.
Tel: (+9821) 22025518, (+9821) 22037473, (+9821) 22037474
Tehran Villa Hostel:
No 79, Shahid Safavian St, Fourth St, Tehran Villa Junction, Satarkhan.
Tel: (+9821) 66504136
... Payvand News - 12/12/07 ... --