It was the heartbreaking flash floods that swept through Iran, from Golestan to Khouzestan during Norouz 2019 when we realised we could not simply live our peaceful lives in Europe and not help.
Through a private fundraising round between our friends and families we fundraised approx. £10,000 within one week in April 2019 and one of our founders, our Vice President today, flew to Iran together with her family to distribute the funds. Given the weak value of the Iranian Rial, the funds equaled approx. IRR 2,000,000,000 and we were able to help hundreds of families in Golestan, Lorestan and Khouzestan. On the first day of arrival alone we equipped 82 families who had been given shelter in a sports hall in Aqala, Golestan, with survival kits and clothing, including hygiene items, blankets and children’s clothes. The work that followed Khouzestan and Lorestan included, amongs others:
- Providing dozens of families with IRR 5,000,000 of financial aid.
- Repairing and equipping homes of multiple single mothers.
- Rebuilding an entire shop of a single mother and equipping it will all the goods.
- Gifting the children of an entire village in Lorestan with toys.
During and after our floods relief project we realised there was no non-political pan-European organisation in Europe that we could do this work with. It was clear to us that such an organisation was needed, as we were risking closure of our personal bank accounts and could not use fundraising platforms such as gofundme.com due to sanctions. We therefore decided to establish our own charity organisation, in our European capitals London, Paris and Berlin. EUIRANC was born.
We realised if we wanted to help the mutual understanding between Europeans and Iranians, and provide humanitarian aid, we would need our own initiative.
Why “mutual understanding”? Mutual understanding means two ways.
First way: Humanitarian work for people in Iran. We realised that there was no pan-European nonpolitical organisation that enables the diaspora and Europeans to send humanitarian help to Iranians. We therefore decided to help the people in Iran through humanitarian work by our European communities. Through initiatives by ourselves and inititiaves by others we could support, for example by the Iranian doctors associations in Europe.
Second way: Cultural work for people in Europe. Another issue we found was that news on the Islamic Republic dominated news on Iranians in Europe and there was a clear lack of understanding as to who the Iranian people are. To enhance understanding beyond what is usually found in the media on Iranians, we decided to carry out cultural work through Iranian exhibitions, concerts and film screenings, to show the core side of Iranian culture.
Covid 2019 Relief
Our pilot project was the Covid Relief project during the first Covid wave of Iran, which was the strongest outside China besides in Italy.
With the support of professional and university societies in London, including the medical society, we fundraised from the first day of Norouz 2020 through a campaign called #30by13, £30,000 by Sizdah Bedar. When we reached our target a couple of days earlier, we extended the goal to £50,000 and reached this goal. We then purchased 78 medical ventilators and distributed them to 44 hospitals and clinics in 32 cities and towns in rural areas of Iran. Please see further information on our project here.
Our work since
We are proud of the track record we have been able to build through our voluntary work as Europeans and lawyers in the past years. Beyond the trust of the European-Iranian communities in London, Berlin and Paris, we have gained attention from the EU and German Ministries for our hard work. We look forward to the rest of our journey for enhancing cultural and humanitarian work between Europeans and Iranians, and would be grateful if you joined us with your support. If you are interested to support us, please see here.
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