Stories: The New School Year and Relief International’s Commitment to Vulnerable Afghan Students - Iran
This story was collected as part of INEE's 20th Anniversary commemoration to highlight how education in the midst of crisis and upheaval has made a difference for our members and those they work with (learners, youth, teachers, caregivers, etc.). For more stories, click here.
The New School Year and Relief International’s Commitment to Vulnerable Afghan Students in Iran
Name: Samira Faridmanesh
Organization: Relief International
Location: Tehran, Iran
In 1996, Ali and his family fled from violence in Afghanistan and sought refuge in Iran. The family chose Iran due to its proximity, the shared religious and cultural sentiments and similarities in the languages. Today, the family with five children, lives in a small town in Tehran province, where Ali worked as a daily laborer. Lately, however, an untreated old wound in his leg resulted in its amputation. This was a major blow to the family since Ali was the family’s main breadwinner.
The family was referred to RI through the Iranian Ministry of Education. One of Ali’s children, Amin - 11, has physical disability. RI supported his special school serving children with disabilities, with equipment and rehabilitation.
The RI team observed that two of their eldest daughters had dropped-out of school due to financial difficulties, and the other two younger children needed support to register in school and family could not pay for the costs. RI provided cash assistance for their school fee, along with a school and a hygiene kit to help them prepare for school. “We were very worried for our children. I never thought I would receive any aid,” said Ali.
When Zahra, Ali’s wife, came back from work, her husband told her about the support by RI. “I became tearful”, she later said. “My children kept going through the kits and asking me ‘are they ours?’ They couldn’t wait for school to open.” Zahra was especially pleased with the hygiene kit as the items were very useful in the face of COVID-19.
RI is working to help Amin with occupational therapy and follows-up on re-registering one of their daughters in school.
The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.