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Iranian among WSJ's The 50 Women to Watch

11/11/08 - This year, an Iranian woman, Saideh Ghods founder of Mahak NGO in Iran, has made it to the Wall Street Journal's annual list of The 50 Women to Watch


Saideh Ghods
(photo by Syma Sayyah)

"When Saideh Ghods's two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer nearly two decades ago, Ms. Ghods learned that some lower-income families in Iran, particularly those from remote provinces, were quietly letting their cancer-stricken children die.

They couldn't afford the cost of treatment or the expense of traveling to the children's hospitals in Tehran where treatment is available. In response, Ms. Ghods, 57, founded in 1991 a charity called Mahak to support the treatment of children with cancer. From the initial handful of volunteers the charity has grown into one of the largest nongovernmental organizations in Iran, helping some 12,000 Iranian children since its inception, as well as thousands of Iraqi and Afghan refugee children with cancer.

Now, Ms. Ghods aims to continue expanding her efforts with the help of funding from Iranian-Americans and others in the U.S., but first she must win permission from the U.S. Treasury for contributions to Mahak from donors in the U.S. Such contributions currently are blocked by U.S. sanctions against Iran."

Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ

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.

Syma Sayyah,


Related Articles:


Mahak Way is the Way of love and Hope
Mahak, the childrens cancer charity of Tehran which was formed and is built on love is thriving on the hope and joy of giving by the many good supporters who met last week, before the Ramadan month of fasting ended, at a ceremony which was held in honor of Mahak's good and traditional and caring donors and the diplomatic community for eftari- a special meal to break the daily fast- at the auditorium at Mahak Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Darabad. -Syma Sayyah and Paul Sanford, Tehran - 10/1/08


IDB Award for Saideh Ghods, the Mahak chief
Mahak is a non-governmental organization dedicated to caring for children with cancer in Iran. It runs a large hospital in northern Tehran on private donations. Among Mahak's many successes I would like to inform you of one of its recent ones. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 7/8/08


The Color of Love: An Exhibition for a great cause in Tehran
Mahak and Mrs. Ferial Salahsour, the art collector and manager of the Day Art Gallery have come up with a wonderful idea of staging an art show for which all the art works have been donated by the artists for fund raising for Mahak and all the money raised will benefit the needy children with cancer in Iran. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 6/24/08


Mahak - A True success story and now a way of life
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 do. --Syma Sayyah and Paul Sanford, Tehran 12/12/07


MAHAK - The society to support Children suffering from Cancer
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. -Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/26/06


About Mahak:

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.



Web Site:

  • 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

  • Chizar Office:
    No 36, Neda Sq, Chizar,
    Tel: (+9821) 22213946, (+9821) 22213888,
    Fax: (+9821) 22201312

  • Mellat Office:
    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

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