Source: PARSA Community Foundation
Persistent, self-sacrificing, and with a heart of
gold, Zohre is the embodiment of volunteerism at its ideal. Residing in Los
Altos, California with her husband Kamran Elahian, a trailblazing philanthropist
himself, Zohre has found not one, but several ways to help communities in
Since 2001, Zohre has focused her efforts in working with Relief International – Schools Online, a leading US-based international non-profit that was formed by the merger of two organizations, both founded by Iranian-Americans. RI-SOL aims to bridge the digital divide by enhancing countries’ capacities to create knowledge-based economies. Its expansive mission includes disaster relief, overcoming poverty, and community development. “What I like about RI-SOL is that it is a global, world-class organization of 600, but you wouldn't know it working there day-by-day,” says Zohre. “Everyone cares passionately about what they do and despite our size, we are a close-knit family.” RI-SOL appeals to Zohre because diasters are so gravely disruptive. The poor suffer the most when disaster strikes and to prevent them from losing their lives and livelihood, we must ultimately address poverty itself, she points out.
At RI-SOL Zohre manages programs on Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. A tremendous amount of causes demand her attention, yet Zohre has found a way to strike a balance between Persian and non-Persian causes. “In my opinion, real humanitarian work is borderless,” she believes. “That said, I am extremely passionate about Iranian causes and spent eighteen months living and working in Bam after the earthquake and am ready to go back to vatan (homeland) in a heartbeat.”
Zohre managed Relief International’s program in Bam, partnering with local NGOs to build 870 houses. She also developed a successful microcredit program for the women of Bam. “Nothing would make me happier than to see our microcredit program expanded to more regions in Iran and I’d be the first on a flight to the remotest villages to make it happen,” she says.
Together with Kamran, Zohre has supported a multitude of organizations through the Global Catalyst Foundation. Co-founded by the Elahians, the organization initiates and supports projects to improve education, eradicate poverty, promote social tolerance, and celebrate diversity. In 2005, GCF developed a micro credit program to assist South Asian families devastated by the tsunami, providing emergency loans for desperately-needed supplies in the region.
Such globally-spanning volunteerism is humbling and inspiring, to say the least. Zohre reflects: “My passion is for humanity…I can not change the world; the best I can do is to have some positive impact. I feel honored and blessed to be able to see the pain, feel it, learn from it and ease it.”
... Payvand News - 1/29/07 ... --