Source: Omid Foundation
Omid Foundation: Empowering Young Women in Iran
Support the Omid Foundation: Sponsor Carlotta Luke at the 2011 Brighton Marathon
I will be running in the Brighton Marathon this April. Although 26.2 miles is always gruelling, running along the sea for most of the route has its benefits. Brighton takes the opportunity to make a huge street party out of the event which helps the runners get through it all. It is a huge personal challenge to run such a long distance.
In the banner above you can see me running the same Marathon last year which gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It gave me a feeling that if I could do this, I could do anything if I set my mind to it. Shortly after I ran the Marathon, I went to a screening of The Glass House, a documentary that documents the lives of a group severely disadvantaged young women in Tehran who are taken in by the Omid Foundation. These women are faced with relentless emotional and financial deprivation, abused and taken advantage of by those who should be supporting and protecting them. Omid works with these women to help them achieve self sufficiency and self-determination. There were so many times during this film when I was moved to tears, both by the desperate plights that they come from, and the growth and support that they receive at Omid. The ethos of the Foundation is one of unconditional love, the sort of love that children should receive in their family settings from those closest to them, but that these young women have never had. This unconditional love helps them gain self confidence and the ability to engage in society as a whole, and imagine a future for themselves. Below you can read the story of Soraya which shows you how Omid truly changes lives.
Omid was set up in 2004 by Marjaneh Halati, a university friend of my husband's and an old friend of mine. Marjaneh's commitment and clarity of vision that has created this foundation is astounding. She has literally saved and transformed many lives through her work.
Seeing this film, and the emotional effect it had on me, made me think more about the Marathon I had recently completed. The fact that I take for granted my ability to tackle challenges and my expectation of personal accomplishment was in such stark contrast to the reality of the emotional lives of these young women, through no fault of their own and due solely to the circumstances of their birth. It made me want to do whatever I could to raise awareness of the crucial work that the Foundation carries out and to help them continue transforming the lives of vulnerable young women in Tehran. So this year, I am running in the Brighton Marathon both for my own sense of personal achievement, and most importantly, to raise money for Omid.
Make a donation - Sponsor Carlotta and support the Omid Foundation
Please support Carlotta's participation in the Marathon and help her raise funds for the Omid Foundation. With your help, she aims to raise $5000 or £3000.
Make an online donation through our website, which is easy and totally secure: donate now.
Donations are tax deductible for US tax payers. If you're a UK taxpayer and agree to Gift Aid your donation, we receive an additional 25% from the Inland Revenue and it does not cost you a Penny.
You can also you can send us a check made out to 'Omid Foundation' in US Dollars drawn on a US bank or in GBP drawn on a UK bank. UK checks should be mailed to Omid Foundation - 63 Rutland Gate - London SW7 1PJ - UK. US checks should be mailed to Omid Foundation - 6517 Lone Oak Drive - Bethesda, MD 20817 - USA.
The Brighton Marathon is the UK's most exciting new major race that promises to be even bigger and even better than the stunning inaugural event in April 2010. This year, Sunday 10th April will see the race route around the city of Brighton & Hove packed with spectators and runners alike; based on the astonishing atmosphere in the city for the 2010 edition, the authorities believe there will be over 100,000 people out supporting the runners as they wind their way around one of the UK's most iconic cities. On a gloriously sunny day, the atmosphere was quite infectious in 2010 but with over 15,000 entries sold in just 30 days for the 2011 race, this year promises to surpass the achievements of 2010. The event attracts a very colourful and heterogeneous group of participants from professional athletes competing against each other to amateurs whose main goal is to raise as much money as possible for their favourite charity. For details see http://brightonmarathon.co.uk/index.html.
The Omid Foundations (with registered charities in Iran, the US and the UK) were established in 2004 to strengthen the social, emotional, and economic competencies of disadvantaged young women in Iran (aged from 15 to 25), and provide them with a sense of self-worth and with the opportunities to experience a full range of life options through self-empowerment, education and training. Omid's clients have typically either been put into care from an early age, or run away from abusive homes, or live in extreme poverty. They often suffer from severe mental health and emotional difficulties, mostly stemming from their experiences of neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and exposure to drugs and violence. Despite their past difficulties, and the obstacles still facing them, Omid's young clients have dreams. They yearn to participate in life, and to make meaningful contributions to the world around them. Omid's holistic approach provides these young clients with the opportunities to realize such dreams. They are offered the tools, structure and support to help them succeed. And, above all, they are offered the chance to be heard. The cornerstones of this approach are self-empowerment, education and training, supplemented by effective work placement and counselling. Omid now caters to the need of over 140 young women. Donations in the US and the UK are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. The Foundation is also allowed to remit donations by US persons to Iran per the terms of its OFAC license issued by the US Department of the Treasury. Visit our website to learn more about the Foundation and how you can get involved or for adding your name to our mailing list.
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