By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
I have known Diana Khalatbari for many years and my admiration and respect for her has always been high. Last year, despite the fact that she lost her beloved husband after a long illness, she did not give up on her zest and enthusiasm for the charity Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF) and within a short time she redoubled her efforts to raise funds for all the wonderful projects that PKCF starts, carries on and maintains in Iran and in other countries.
During the second week of the Iranian new year she called and informed me that she was back in town and we arranged to go together to some of the projects they are doing.
Sharp at 9 she was at the door and we started off with the Malayek which is now run by a charity group named Reyhaneh. Many of my readers may remember my reports from the 7th Tirr center for physically disabled young ladies. The name changed after the Reyhaneh Charity organization took it over.
Diana just called the chief a few minutes before we arrived and I was most impressed with how clean and tidy everywhere was. The garden looked as it had been taken good care of, and the PKCF building was all clean. Many new sections had been added and when we met Mr Rezaie, the head of the center, he showed us two of the wood carved statues that one of the young people under the organizations care had done. They had even installed the lift at last. It was so delightful; I could imagine how happy the girls must feel. Most of the girls were staying with their families during the Norouz holidays but we saw a few and they were all happy and the hall and corridors clean and neat and the toilets were most acceptable.
We spent about an hour at Mr Rezaie's office and he told us about all the projects that had been done for the girls' entertainment and enjoyment such as full day outings and trips. Diana asked about some of the girls and was delighted that four of them were ready to leave and each two would live together and the charity would buy them a suitable residential home that they could live in and not worry about moving or rent and thus become ever more independent which was very good news. It was agreed that Diana would come back next week to meet the girls, unfortunately due to pressure of work I was unable to accompany her the second time. PKCF continues to make regular large contributions for the well being for the girls at Malayek. We had a very nice tea and said our goodbyes.
Afterwards we went to one of the best projects that PKCF has been working with in the past two years - supplying new equipment and paying for the building of two extra operating theaters at the Aliasghar Hospital which is one of the major centers that deals with children with cancer and is run in close association with Mahak Charity. Again Diana called Mr Khalaj, the manager there, just a few minutes before we arrived and he postponed the rest of his meeting when we arrived. This hospital is in Zafar Street, above Nafat Street and before the Modaress expressway.
I was impressed with how clean everywhere was, even though they were still working on expansion of the hospital changing and re decorating some of the wards and painting others. Mr Khalaj informed us that on average in the last year there were 109 operations at the hospital every month, and they desperately needed the new operating rooms. The major point that stuck with me during our visit was how friendly the staff were, especially the nurses. It must be very hard on everyone to work under these conditions but they were managing well. Later Mr Khalaj took us on a full tour of the hospital, the wards and different sections as well as a full inspection of the new section and the two operating rooms which were been refurbished and two new ones which are being added, supported by PKCF. There are also new staff and doctors sections, a pre and post operation area and a new lift which will replace the old one.
All was very impressive and one must congratulate PKCF for helping such a worthy and effective cause for all these darling children. It was a working day for me and I had to say goodbye and leave Diana whose energy and zest for doing good has never failed to impress me. I can only pray and hope that with good people's contribution PKCF will continue to do the good work that they do and give many - mostly children - a better life and a better chance in life.
For those of you who may wish to read more about the work of PKCF I leave you with the links below:
The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation
Suite N1 - 4th Floor
375 Kensington High Street
London W14 8QH, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7471 6788
... Payvand News - 05/10/10 ... --