By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Recently I went to a very enjoyable charity
bazaar organized by Mehr Women Charity Organization. I had visited a similar
event about three years ago and was keen to see how the NGO had grown since I
last reported on it.
We arrived at the bazaar in a hall in Vali-asr
Avenue about 11 on a Friday morning. There I was welcomed at the reception.
The bazaar was busy with men and women, young and old; many stands were
offering all sorts of goodies, mostly edible stuff or consumer goods, and run by
groups, companies or individuals.
The food stands were most tempting and I ended up
buying a lot of kokou, kofeteh and shami for dinner. I
also spent lots of money on buying dry vegetables- sabzie polou,
ghormeh-Sabzie, Nana Khoshek (dry mint) and gifts for the family.
There was a lot of buzz and excitement. Many,
mostly young people were behind the counters and greeted visitors with big happy
faces. Soon I learnt that they do this often and for them it is a great deal of
fun, as well as making them feel good; they give their time and energy for
higher ideals of helping fellowmen. I have a few pictures for you so you can
see how lively and jolly this was.
Ms Ferdows Manuchahrain, Mehr's Deputy Chair
At their last bazaar, I became interested in
those who organize such successful events and asked Zari if I could meet those
who run Mehr. Soon afterwards, a meeting was arranged and I went to their
modest yet welcoming and friendly office. There I met the founder and the head
of organization Mrs. Khalili-Manoucherian who started Mehr Charitable
Foundation which was established in 1997 but became official in 1999, under
Police Registration License No. 11264.
Mrs. Khalili told me that this was truly her
dream. During her childhood she spent a lot of time with her grandparents, who
were extremely kind individuals and helped many people around them. It was then
that she became familiar with the pains, problems, suffering and unhappiness of
many women, who came for help, and heard their stories. Since then, she always
wanted to help women, less fortunate than herself, to stand on their feet and to
She set up this NGO to help women who need help
and assistance to run their lives as heads of family. Women who according to a
2000 census account for over a million, most likely 1.5 million of the
population. Their mission is "to bring hope and dignity into women's lives by
providing them with an opportunity to achieve economic independence."
The organizations has supported many young women
to get educated, learn a skill or go to university to be educated to level that
will secure them with a good job, better future and more involvement in society
I have come to strongly believe that when an NGO
or a charitable organization narrows its aims and purposes, they have a better
chance of success in attaining their goals. Mehr believes in promoting and
improving women's lives by empowering those women who are family heads and the
main breadwinners. Through this, they aim to reduce depravity, vice, decadence
and rakishness and bring safety, stability self-confidence and a happy and
healthy home. In this way they help open a horizon of hope and create sense of
positivism for tomorrow, in an environment that hope is scarce and efforts are
rewarded very little.
Mehr helps women to establish means of work and
employment for themselves. For example if someone knows how to sew and needs to
buy a sewing machine, they lend her the money and she pays it back in
installments at 0% interest. Mehr has had many women who have used this system
and made successful businesses out of it. You do not have to be completely
deprived, just a woman who wants or needs to make it on her own and earn good
honest money from her work and efforts to qualify.
Mehr Charitable Organization elevates the status
and self-esteem of those women in our society who have had a misfortunate but
are willing and try to do something about it to change their status. This
organization is exactly how I believe an NGO should be: it is open,
transparent, caring, has well defined goals, and is run by active non earning
members and an active and knowledgeable board which quietly but surely is doing
a lot of good for our society.
Mehr Main Programs include:
Small business loans
Vocational training and
Higher education grant and
Small economic activity
Independence through education
Mehr Major Activities include:
Further details, including band
details can be found at their web site:
... Payvand News - 2/16/09 ... --