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This year, we have decided to dedicate our annual winter campaign to raise the funds needed to provide vocational training and university scholarships for young women affected by the recent earthquake in Iran. We are hoping that through this campaign we can continue to help the victims in the long term.
Since its inception OMID as an organization and all the young women enrolled in the OMID Program have always mobilized themselves to help whenever a natural disaster has occurred in Iran. As access to effected areas is at first restricted and travel to those areas sometimes risky, OMID always first sends some key staff members with emergency supplies (cookers, heaters, blankets, etc.) to help those who have been effected, boost their morale, and assess what longer term help OMID can provide that will have lasting impact. In view of OMID’s mission focus on young women, the longer-term programs invariably involve helping young women and their families.
Within a week of the earthquake an OMID truck with portable heaters and cookers went to several villages. While there, Omid staff also played with children and gave out toys – helping to take their minds off their traumatic experience. A second truck was sent to the area in the fourth week of November. For now here is a video from our recent visits to the area.
In mid December, the founder and CEO of Omid Foundation, Marjaneh Halati, will travel to the earthquake area with five young women who are enrolled in our outreach program and five members of our therapeutic staff. The therapeutic staff will stay there for as long as needed. They are there to help families who have been traumatized by the earthquake experience come to term with their trauma. They will conduct group therapy programs for families and sometimes whole communities. The therapeutic staff will likely stay for four to six weeks, while Marjaneh and the five OMID girls will return to Tehran after five days to plan the next steps.
The programs for longer term support in the impacted areas will include:
- Support for local education programs for girls (replacing destroyed school supplies and equipment, re-establishing internet connections, providing substitute teachers).
- Sending OMID peer educators to hold seminars for young women on reproductive health and rights, individual/women rights, and women and the law.
- Selecting talented young women whose education has been disrupted and whose lives could be significantly impacted if they would move to Tehran to either enroll in a vocational training program, or sit for university entrance examinations and eventually enroll in a four year university program.
The average vocational training program costs CAD$2,000 and the average four year university course costs CAD$4,000.
This will be a life changing event in the lives of the young women and it will turn the trauma’s of the earthquake into an unexpected opportunity. Click the yellow link below to donate.
Photo and video credit: Ahmad Halabisaz and OMID staff