Hi, everyone! For those who do not know me, my name is Nilu, and I am a 17-year-old Iranian-American living in Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up, I visited Iran several times with my family. I love being surrounded by Iranian culture, food, history, and people. However, in Iran, many girls and women my age do not have the opportunities that my peers and I have been granted. Therefore when I found out my family and I will be traveling to Iran this summer, I knew I wanted to give back.
This July I will be volunteering at the Omid-e-Mehr Center in Tehran for two weeks as an "OMID Angel". The OMID Foundation is a group of four non-political and non-religious legal entities from the U.S., U.K., Iran, and Canada that collaborate in order to better the social, emotional, and economic capabilities of disadvantaged young women in Iran. At the Omid-e-Mehr Center in Tehran, over 200 women, ages 15-24, participate in the two-and-a-half year program which focuses on self-empowerment, training, and education. On a daily basis, the women – most of whom are survivors sexual, physical, or emotional abuse – attend classes and workshops. The subjects range from technology and financial planning to art, creative writing, and English. In addition, psychologists at the center provide the young women with the tools they need to regain their emotional stability. This holistic approach to care, counseling, education, and training prepares the girls to reintegrate into society and rebuild their lives. After the two and a half years, sometimes followed by six months of vocational training, over 85% of the women find paid work at a prominent company, start their own business, or enroll in university. You can learn more about the OMID foundation on their website or Facebook page.
I feel extremely grateful to be able to travel to Tehran and spend time at the Omid Center, and hopefully continue fundraising for them and raising awareness when I return home. The foundation has changed the lives of hundreds of young girls, and you can as well through your donations. Thank you!